Extreme Measures (1996) – Rated R for violence, language, some nudity and graphic ER content.
In director Michael Apted’s medical thriller, emergency room doctor Guy Luthan (Hugh Grant) is haunted by the disappearance of a strange patient’s records. Against the advice of his nurse friend Jodie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Guy pushes the investigation. The trail leads to Lawrence Myrick (Gene Hackman), a brilliant doctor with a clouded conscience whose experimental surgeries, which allow spinal cord victims to walk again, hint at the sinister.
“You made a moral choice and not a medical one. I guess I’m kind of surprised, that’s all. “
Okay Extreme Measures starts off well with two naked men escaping a medical facility pursued by men in a car. Unfortunately it then segues into Hugh Grant as Dr. Guy Luthan controlling an ER. Twenty medical professionals standing around and the only one capable of dealing with things is the cute floppy-haired guy. I started giggling. I dare you to watch the scene and not giggle.
Unfortunately Hugh Grant appears to have only one forte – romantic comedy. He is not as one dimensional as Keanu Reeves but it is very hard to take him seriously in this movie. His investigations really beg the question of what happened to the other Hardy boy.
Sarah Jessica Parker is okay but the role doesn’t require her to do much of anything. Gene Hackman, who I normally like, simply collects a paycheck here. Bill Nunn and David Morse are fine character actors but don’t add much to the film.
This was the first movie for Simian Films, founded by Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley and was a financial flop. This was released the year after his arrest for lewd conduct. Seriously a long-term relationship with one of the pre-eminent super-models of the day and you get caught in a parked car with a common streetwalker. Sheesh!
There is a good chuckle to be had when we are introduced to two police officers named Burke and Hare (after the infamous 19th century graverobbers/murderers). Apart from that most of the laughs are unintentional.
People Watch: Look for Director David Cronenberg’s brief appearance as a hospital lawyer and the always welcome J.K. Simmons as Dr. Mingus.