Nurse Betty

Nurse Betty

DVD Rating: ***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Nurse Betty

A Reason To Love soap opera, which is watched, or glimpsed in the background throughout the movie, gets a full run. It's a perfectly judged spoof, never too absurd or overplayed.

The handsome support lead ("Lonny, you're a good doctor," the head of department says, "but you're not David Ravell") is jealous of the top surgeon's popularity. He and Nurse Chloe, who wants to get her own back on Nurse Jasmine for being closer to David, plot his disgrace.

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"We make a great team," Lonny coos. "You, me... my mother."

Chloe cuddles up to David in his car out in the woods (don't ask how they got there), but David won't go through with it. He's still mourning the death of his wife.

Backed by the smarm prince Lonny, she accuses him of sexual assault and he is suspended from duty. Jasmine offers succour, but he stares into the middle distance.

Later, Chloe feels guilty, as Lonny gloats over David's fall from grace, and when Jasmine turns up at her oh-so-smart apartment to persuade her not to go through with the court case, they fall into each other's arms. Oops!

Actors and Crew Commentaries: it is completely spoiling to have two. Both are conducted by director Neil LaBute as conversations. Often it is more enjoyable to listen, without watching.

LaBute tries hard to talk about the film, how certain scenes worked and the problems behind them, such as the intense cold during the night shoot at the Grand Canyon, when Renee Zellweger couldn't stop laughing.

Chris Rock is incapable of being serious. As a stand up comic, he's used to wisecracking his way out of anything and he does it here all the time from habit, with Renee giggling in the background.

"All my scenes were with Morgan," he says. "It was so easy to be BAD. Because he's so gooood."

At one point, they discuss ad-libs, the pros and cons. They admit that Chris is very good at them, but too many can upset the balance of a scene. "You can ad-lib twice," Morgan Freeman says, "and then it becomes smart-lib." It doesn't take long before the script is trashed. "Then you're trying to ad-lib over the ad-lib."

They talk with admiration of the scene in a motel when Chris is riling Morgan for being such a wuzz about Betty and Morgan grabs him and Chris looks down with utter contempt at Morgan's hand on him and spits, "Don't stretch my sweater", the joke being that it's such a naff sweater anyway.

They talk about clothes, how Morgan instinctively knows what is right, and the way Betty wears her waitress uniform after getting blood over the nurse's outfit, and how good it looks. They love her at Grand Canyon, during Morgan's hallucinatory romantic moment, when she appears like an angel with stardust on her cheeks and Renee couldn't keep a straight face.

"That was only Morgan's second screen kiss," Neil says. "I could hardly believe it."

Chris and Renee admit they were scared working with the legendary Mr Freeman, being such fans. "We all love you, man," Renee adds.

"You're pretty good with that gun, Morgan," Neil says.

"Well, after a while... you know," Morgan says.

What is obvious from this commentary is how much they enjoyed working together. The feeling is contagious.

"For the whole of the first week, I thought I'd be fired," Chris says.

"I kept on thinking, when are they going to find out?" Renee says.

Reviewed on: 27 Sep 2001
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Nurse Betty packshot
A waitress becomes obsessed with chasing her soap opera dreams after witnessing her husband's murder.
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Product Code: P9015DVD

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.35:1

Sound: Dolby Digital

Extras: A Reason To Love Soap Segments, Director and Actors Commentary, Director and Crew Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Trailer

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