May 26, 2017

Harrison Ford can’t heal ‘Measures’



We’ve grown accustomed to seeing Harrison Ford in a savior role, though the rough-and-tumble icon usually solves the most intricate problems with his fists. (See “Air Force One,” “Firewall,” the Tom Clancy adaptations and his legendary “Indiana Jones” franchise for multiple examples.) But as Ford ages, he’s forced to rely on other methods of heroism, and “Extraordinary Measures” marks a step in that new direction.

Directed by Tom Vaughan (“What Happens In Vegas”), “Measures” casts Ford as Dr. Robert Stonehill, a surly Midwestern scientist who’s coaxed out of his sterile lab by John Crowley (Brendan Fraser), a concerned father with a unique dilemma. Two of Crowley’s three children suffer from Pompe disease, a rare degenerative disease that usually claims its young victims before their ninth birthday. With nothing left to lose, Crowley approaches Stonehill – who has been making extraordinary progress toward finding a cure for Pompe – and begs for his assistance in healing the children.

What follows is a race-the-clock melodrama that adheres to the pattern of “progress-obstacle-miracle solution.” Ford sells the science of the picture, emphasizing the importance of the screenplay’s medical jargon. But Fraser fails to match Ford’s intensity, and the duo eventually is overwhelmed by the picture’s blatant appeals for tears.

“Extraordinary Measures” is the debut feature film from CBS Films. It would be a better fit, however, on the CBS television network as a harmless, ordinary movie of the week.

ALSO OPENING: God sends the angels Michael (Paul Bettany) and Gabriel (Kevin Durand) to earth where they’re forced to battle for humanity’s future in “Legion,” while former WWE superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson trades his wrestling tights for wings and a wand to play the “Tooth Fairy” in Michael Lembeck’s family comedy.

“Extraordinary Measures” – *1/2 out of 4

About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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