A Reason to Love
Nurse Betty
Review by Ross Anthony

In the Coen brother's tradition (i.e.: "Fargo"), this light, odd and quirky comedy is spiced with an occurrence or two of graphic bloody violence.

The script is engrossing, but wraps before fully mature and without a strong climax. That's because the central focus (our confused heroine's mental health) isn't attended to with the kind of intensity the film seemed to have promised.

Nurse BettyDue in part to rickety direction, the initial third of the film totters as an awkward duckling taking it's first steps, though Aaron Eckhart as Del (Betty's husband) performs marvelously as the perfect A-hole.

Zwellinger is cantaloupe sweet and as lovable as always, but it's Greg Kinear that snatches this wobbling film up by its bridges. The overall quality of the production raises noticeably at his appearance on screen. Of course, it helps that his character is also smartly written.

Freeman and Rock (the thugs) are misfiring pistons in a well-designed engine. Freeman, varying the L. Jackson character of "Pulp Fiction" attempts to make thuggery a religious experience. Rock, like Travolta just does his job, only with a bit more fervor and a lot less acting prowess. Together, they're cinematic efforts work about half the time.

Nurse BettyThat said, I enjoyed this line from Rock defending the concept of killing.
Father-in-law of victim, "You've got to have a part of your soul missing to do something like that."
Rock, "Why do you say that? All species kill, even God kills. Do you think he's missing a part of his soul?"

I also enjoyed a scene where Freeman preparing for a hit, readies his gun and then, with both eyes in the mirror, slaps a palm full of cologne on his cheeks.

Unfortunately, the less than smashing conclusion and below average performances by Rock and Freeman hamper this sharply scripted, off-center film which nonetheless certainly has its moments - some of them excellent, many to spark a chuckle as well.

Betty is a waitress at the TipTop in Fair Oaks, Kansas. She's obsessed with the dashing Dr. David Ravel of the daily soap "Reason to Love." After witnessing the murder of her husband, that obsession becomes reality and that TV surgeon becomes her personal "Reason to Love."

  • Nurse Betty. Copyright © 2000. Rated R.
  • Starring Morgan Freeman, Renee Zellweger, Greg Kinnear, Chris Rock and Aaron Eckhart.
  • Directed by Neil LaBute.
  • Written by John C. Richards & James Flamberg.
  • Produced by Gail Mutrux (of AB'Strakt), Steve Golin (Propaganda), a USA films release.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:02:17 PDT