Synopsis: A father teams up with an unorthodox Doctor to try and find a cure for his children’s genetic disorder.
Release Date: January 22, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG-13
For all the attempts the film makes to garner empathy from the viewer it is ultimately unsuccessful. Focusing on the need to develop a cure for a rare disease called Pompe, in which the main characters children are suffering, it delves into the politics of drug manufacturing and the trials of a family dealing with the foreseeable death of two adolescent children. The subject matter is heavy but the movie neglects a more melodramatic tone for sarcasm and jokes. Every moment that should be dramatic and touching is interrupted by a joke or sly remark. It ruins the entire scope of the film as the audience member is constantly torn between seriousness and comic relief. As the viewer you walk in knowing what to expect, melodrama. Why the filmmakers chose to offset this at every turn with pointless humor that feels completely out of place is a mystery. The end result is a film that could have given rise to emotions in the viewer that were deep and heartfelt. Instead you feel practically nothing up until the end and even then you are indifferent to the outcome. Its only redeeming quality is how it showcases the methods and decision-making of drug companies in the modern world. It never falters to tell the truth of how decisions are made and the altogether shady practices and consistent neglect for human welfare. The picture it paints is not a pretty one but it is honest. If anything the film does give the viewer one thing to go home with, knowledge.
As the father searching for a cure, against all odds, Brendan Fraser as John Crowley, does not deliver a performance worthy of what his character is experiencing. His moments of extreme distress are only emphasized by a slight furrowing of his brows and forehead coupled with a dead stare from eyes that fail to offer anything more than a helpless stare for the majority of time. When moments arise where he must fight for his cause the sentiment and passion is nonexistent. The passion one would expect, the fire that should breathe out of every part of his being, has all been neglected. We get a man who appears defeated before he has even begun to fight. This makes for a lead character one does not want to join in the fight with, let alone spend a majority of time watching on screen.
As the “supposed” unorthodox Doctor with the theoretical cure brewing in his head and on his myriad of office white boards Harrison Ford, Dr. Robert Stonehill, at first appears as nothing more than a cranky older man with no regard for human relationships. Sometimes first impressions are correct. As much as the film tries to show his softer side when he is in the company of the children it is short lived and fleeting.
His cranky demeanor and penchant for sarcasm is at times funny but he remains all the more unlikable throughout the movie. As for his unorthodox methods. It is merely the blasting of classic rock to the great annoyance of his fellow lab inhabitants. If there is anything more to this one-dimensional character it must have been left on the cutting room floor as we, the viewers, never see it.
There is a small ray of hope for the performances in the film and it comes in a small package. Meredith Droeger plays Megan, the nine year-old child who is suffering from Pompe disease. Confined to a wheelchair she is everything but a victim. Her personality is infectious with its quick wit, subtle charm, and all around cuteness. She races around the house in her wheelchair after her brother as if her disability is nonexistent. When faced with obstacles caused by her disease she demonstrates a level of strength and perseverance that surpasses every level of acing ability of her costars. Her presence on screen may be limited, as the film primarily focuses on Dr. Stonehill and her father John Crowley, but when she is on screen all eyes are on her. The desire to find a cure lies solely in her performance as this is the child who represents all the children who suffer from Pompe. It is from the performance of Megan and her extreme likability that sitting through an otherwise mediocre movie is possible. The film may not demonstrate much fight or a good dose of melodrama but a child like Megan is worth rooting for to all ends.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Tom Vaughan
- Producer(s): Robert Nelson JacobsBrendan Fraser (John Crowley)
- Screenwriter(s): Harrison Ford (Dr. Robert Stonehill)Keri Russell (Aileen Crowley)Meredith Droeger (Megan Crowley)
- Cast: Anne V. CoatesAndrew DunnDerek R. Hill
- Editor(s): Deena Pizzini
- Cinematographer: Andrea Guerra
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA