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Nurse Betty Review

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A bewildered but obsessed woman decides to stalk her favourite soap star.

★★★★★

One might get the distinct feeling that Neil LaBute - if you've watched his movies so far, that is - is not what expert psychoanalysts refer to as "happy chicken". His previous two films have been icy studies of either rampant misogyny - the fantastic In The Company Of Men - or full blown misanthropy - the less successful Your Friends & Neighbours - so it's hardly surprising that for his third outing he should lighten up and choose a project with a more whimsical heart. Unfortunately, try as he might, he can't keep the movie entirely bile-free, and the result is a weirdly uneven, ultimately dissatisfying experience.

Nurse Betty's key strength is Zellweger. She is perfectly cast as the epitome of bewildered innocence who, catapulted into a 'fugue' - a psychological defence/reaction to the scalping and brutal murder of her slimeball hubby, played with trailer-park relish by LaBute regular Aaron Eckhart - heads off to propose to her favourite TV soap character, the uni-dimensional, Dr. Kildare-lite Dr. David Ravell: 'real' name George McCord (Kinnear, wheeling out the same deliberate cheesiness that he employed as Captain Amazing in 1999's Mystery Men). When she finally corners him, McCord interprets her refusal to address him by his real name as a Stanislavskian acting method, and offers her a job as the titular bedpan operative. Cue some mildly amusing misunderstandings and a burgeoning love affair.

But trouble, both for Betty and the movie, arrives when hit men Charlie (Freeman) and Wesley (Rock, as irritating as always) turn up, determined to off Betty.

In defter comedic hands - Tom DiCillo comes to mind - this could have been a leftfield little gem, but LaBute struggles somewhat with the light comedy. and there's also the small plot problem: since Betty is as mad as a bag of baboons, it's difficult to really sympathise with her. All of which leaves Nurse Betty in need of just a little first aid.

There's a small plot problem: since Betty is as mad as a bag of baboons, it's difficult to really sympathise with her. All of which leaves Nurse Betty in need of just a little first aid.