Doc Hollywood

***1/2

Reviewed by: Stephen Carty

The sort of movie you probably wouldn't watch unless you caught some of it on television (at which point you'd be hooked), Doc Hollywood is an underrated and decidedly charming affair. On his way to Los Angeles to become a high-paid plastic surgeon, hot-shot Doctor Ben Stone (Michael J Fox) crashes in the small town of Grady. Forced to spend a few days there and take a role as the local practitioner, Stone's initial desperation to get out lessens as the friendly atmosphere grows on him slowly but surely.

Director Michael Caton-Jones leans much heavier towards the romantic end of the rom-com spectrum rather than out-and-out laughs, but the film remains heart-warming without ever approaching a syrupy corn-fest.

As is always the case in this sort of the flick, the small town itself is as much a character as any of the cast. Of course, in the small time period that Fox's big city-loving Doc is knocking around Grady, there's a parade, a carnival, a fireworks display and more. All we're really waiting for is Joey to climb in through Dawson's window.

And yet, while these clichés could irritate in lesser hands, here they offer the perfect setting for a sweeter-than-you'd-expect love story. Take, for example, the small and tender moment where Dr Ben and local ambulance driver Lou (Julie Warner) stare at each other through the marching parade crowds. On paper, this might sound trite and mushy, but it’s played so perfectly, with a beautiful score to boot, that it offers more genuine romance in less than a minute than most modern movies boast in their entirety.

It helps that Fox - on his usual charming, comic-delivering form - is paired with the perfectly-cast Julie Warner to forge a nice looking couple. Elsewhere, while there are small roles for Woody Harrelson (a macho insurance salesman), Bridget Fonda (the local 'hottie') and George Hamilton (a plastic surgeon), Barnard Hughes steals the show as the crabby local doctor.

Predictable perhaps, but Doc Hollywood is charming as hell. Like Grady, though you might not fancy it from outside, once you’re in you'll want to stay...

Reviewed on: 17 Feb 2010
Share this with others on...
A hot-shot plastic surgeon has to come to terms with being stranded in a small town.
Amazon link

Director: Michael Caton-Jones

Writer: Neil B. Shulman, Laurian Leggett, Jeffrey Price, Peter S Seaman, Daniel Pyne

Starring: Michael J Fox, Julie Warner, Barnard Hughes, Woody Harrelson, David Ogden Stiers, Frances Sternhagen, George Hamilton, Bridget Fonda, Mel Winkler,

Year: 1991

Runtime: 104 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

Festivals:


Search database: