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Movie Review: Extraordinary Measures

Alternate Title: What They Did For Love

Story: Can a film that has a TV movie of the week look written all over it make it on the big screen? In this case - it can and does. The film was carefully directed by Tom Vaughan and was written by Robert Nelson Jacobs, based on the book “The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million--And Bucked the Medical Establishment--In a Quest to Save His Children” by Geeta Anand.

John Crowley decides to give up his secure, well paying job so that he can raise the money needed to find a cure for his two children who are suffering from a fatal, rare form of muscular dystrophy, called Pompe disease. The film takes a somewhat formulaic approach to Crowley's search for the cranky scientist who is the closest to finding a cure. How they meet, form a partnership and start the steps necessary to find the cure as the clock ticks, is the first third of the film.

The rest of the film and the part that I found most interesting was the time spent on the business aspects of the lucrative drug/biotech industry, the red tape involved in clinical trials, the bureaucracy and the sheer corporate coldness of the bottom line.

None of the film breaks any new ground but it has solid story telling, good acting, believable characters and the knock your socks off grandeur of the landscape of Portland, Oregon.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUCXtdTlUrk

Acting: Brendan Fraser as John Crowley gained a little weight for this part (I am not sure why he needed to be a bit pudgy) but he gives a solid, sensitive performance as the caring Dad. Harrison Ford as Dr. Stonehill, plays an age appropriate character for a change and it feels right. Keri Russell as Aileen Crowley is all grown up and gives a believable performance as the Mom. Jared Harris as the cold Dr. Kent Webber is fine as is Courtney B. Vance as fellow Pompe Dad, Marcus Temple. Meredith Droeger as little Megan Crowley is full of spunk and adorable. Diego Velazquez as little Patrick Crowley really has nothing to do in this film.

Trivia: Brendan Fraser was raised in Holland, Switzerland, and Canada. Educated at Upper Canada College in Toronto, the Actors' Conservatory, Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. He has dual citizenship: American and Canadian. He speaks French fluently. Keri Russell began her career on the Mickey Mouse Club in 1991. She stayed with the show until 1993. Keri's breakthrough role came in 1998 where she played "Felicity Porter" in the WB's popular series "Felicity" (1998).

Predilection: I like Brendan Fraser.

Critters: A fluffy dog.

Food: Birthday cake.

Sex Spectrum: None

Blatant Product Placement: Hewlett Packard, Bristol Meyers

Soundtrack: Innocuous.

Opening Titles: All titles are superimposed over the opening sequence showing a determined John Crowley trying to get to his daughter's eights birthday arty on time.

Visual Art: A stunning landscape.

Theater Audience: About 20 other people.

Weather: Lovely

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I did not drift.

Tissue Usage: Bring tissues.

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: I always say go for the big screen but this film will do well on cable for sure. For a fine rental on a similar story, check out Lorenzo's Oil, with Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon. Bring tissues to that one too.

Length: Under two hours.