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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Extraordinary Measures’ taken; miracles not found

    “”Don’t hope for a miracle, make one.”” If nothing else, the slogan — plastered across nearly all of the promotional material for Tom Vaughan’s “”Extraordinary Measures”” ­— captures the film’s  intentions. Based on the “”true story of John Crowley’s quest to save his children,”” the film’s drama is diluted by its predictability.

    When his daughter Megan (Meredith Droeger) has a nearly fatal respiratory crisis due to a muscular dystrophy condition called Pompe’s disease, with which his son is also afflicted, John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) sets out to save them. Crowley seeks the help of Professor Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford), whom he believes to be on the verge of finding a cure. Together, the businessman and the professor start a business with the goal of discovering Stonehill’s theoretical cure.

    Like the verbose title of Geeta Anand’s original book, “”The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million — And Bucked the Medical Establishment — in a Quest to Save His Children,”” the film’s slow-moving plot is more exhaustive than suggestive.

    In addition to the plodding plot, Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford interact awkwardly. Ford’s crazy professor act puts him back nearly three decades into the Indiana Jones series. Except with lines like “”Get to the point, son”” and “”Don’t get your hopes up, kid,”” the role Ford takes on is less his own than it is Indiana’s father’s.

    But Fraser is believable as the young businessman Crowley, partially because of his idealistic plans, reminiscent of his character from “”Journey to the Center of the Earth.”” But his perpetually clean-shaven face and bold assertions that he “”can’t just sit around and wait for (his) kids to die,”” along with montages of translucent faces and epic-sounding music, add a layer of cheesiness and unbelievability to the gritty story.

    As can be expected from a film whose storyline follows a series of drug pitches to venture capitalists and power disputes between executives, its drama is derived entirely from interpersonal issues. Ford’s curmudgeonly character bellows many versions of the trailer-quoted “”Nobody’s going to tell me how to run my lab!”” and the requisite hug scene at the end is more than cringe-worthy.

    Even in moments where the dialogue is poor and unconvincingly delivered, the theme of compromise manages to peek through. Beginning with Crowley’s dilemma of whether to spend time with his dying children or try to save them, and ending with a decision between a perfect method and a current treatment option, the plot is complex and nuanced.

    In the end, the film leaves behind a dimensionless view of what could be an interesting predicament — a predicament for which extraordinary measures are surely taken but from which miracles never come.

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