If you've watched anything on CBS for the past three months then you've probably seen ads for this movie from CBS Films starring Brendan Fraiser and Harrison Ford. The trailer for Extraordinary Measures is one of the worst I've ever seen. They revealed too much and made it look like a slightly flashier made-for-TV movie or a special episode of ER. This movie, which suffers from the worst title, poster and marketing of the last few years, was actually better than I thought it would be. The story is about a family man, played by Fraiser, teaming up with a doctor, played by Ford, to find a cure for the disease that is killing Fraiser's two children. The movie prays on your emotions from the very beginning displaying the phrase "inspired by true events." Right out of the gate they want you to be inspired by this story because it "really happened." Sadly, "inspired by true events" is the Hollywood catchall which means that none of what you're seeing could be true. Thankfully the best and most inspiring parts of this movie are true. What's not true is the uncomfortable relationship the Harrison Ford character forms with Fraiser to find a cure. That also means that the most boring parts of this movie aren't true. So for the life of me I can't figure out why screenwriter Robert Nelson Jacobs (Chocolat, The Shipping News) made them so boring. I can't really blame first time director, Tom Vaughn on this because his only experience prior was TV. Perhaps the blame could be Harrison Ford's, who was also Executive Producer on this film. There is so much time spent on the increasingly boring parts of the film, that it slowly sucks all the emotion from the rest. Extraordinary Measures has the perfect makings to be a tear-jerking tissue-using sobfest. It's not and I want you to know that I'm not someone who is afraid to cry at movies; in fact I love it. I went to see this fully expecting it to sucker punch me into crying even when I didn't want too. I would imagine that any parent who has ever had to go through a chronic problem with their child that put them in the hospital for extended periods of time wouldn't be able to handle this however. But for the rest of us, it's pretty easily done. It's almost as if this they started to make this as a mad-for-TV film and then changed their mind but didn't change the script or director...just added some bigger actors. The film isn't a letdown and it isn't impressive. If Extraordinary Measures did anything extraordinary it was balancing on the line of mediocrity so well it never leans one way or the other.
Extraordinary Measures (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: C