Extraordinary Measures (PG)
Friday 26 February 2010
The fact that it's based on Geeta Anand's book, The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million – and Bucked the Medical Establishment – in a Quest to Save His Children, should warn you what to expect, as well as telling you the plot.
Fraser plays the real-life John Crowley, a drug-marketing businessman, two of whose children have Pompe, an incurable disease that causes muscular disintegration: their life expectation is nine years, and Megan, the older, is now eight. On the internet Crowley discovers a brilliant Pompe theorist called Robert Stonehill and tracks him to Nebraska, to find a surly, slobby, chronically unsocialised figure watching the ballgame in a beer joint. The two men make common cause and form a biotech company to find a cure for Pompe, but every time Crowley raises more research money, Stonehill screeches abuse and screws things up. Harrison Ford, after a lifetime acting unsmiling-but-cool heroes, from Han Solo in Star Wars to John Book in Witness, meets his match playing Stonehill: looking both physically knackered and emotionally stricken, he makes the scientist impossible to admire. The film's combination of gloopy sentiment, macho horns-locking and recondite enzyme research isn't a winner; and the slushy music, by Andrea Guerra, has you begging for mercy.
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