Ex­traor­di­nar­ily or­di­nary

Pasatiempo - - Moving Images -

IThey make good movies about bad peo­ple, so there’s no rea­son why there shouldn’t be bad movies about good peo­ple. Ex­traor­di­nary Mea­sures is a light­weight construction about a des­per­ate cir­cum­stance — a fre­quently ter­mi­nal dis­ease that strikes chil­dren — and the lengths to which one fam­ily went to help dis­cover a cure. This is one of those dra­mas that open with the dis­claimer “In­spired by a true story,” which means that what we are about to see will be true-ish, which is cer­tainly close enough for the movies. It’s like adapt­ing a novel— the film­mak­ers’ job is to find the spine of the story and ren­der it on-screen, not to ren­der the whole book page for page. But the idea is to find a riv­et­ing dra­matic story line, which Ex­traor­di­nary Mea­sures fails to do. This movie’s heart is in the right place, and the real-life drama it re­lates and en­hances is re­mark­able and re­ward­ing, but there is no rea­son for this telling of it to be tak­ing up space on a the­atri­cal screen. Its nat­u­ral habi­tat is the comfortable, re­mote-con­trolled quar­ters of a tele­vi­sion movie of the week.

The dis­ease in ques­tion here is Pompe dis­ease, a rare neu­ro­mus­cu­lar dis­or­der that can cause mus­cle de­te­ri­o­ra­tion, or­gan en­large­ment, and death in chil­dren. The fam­ily is the Crow­leys. John is a mid­dle-man­age­ment sales ex­ec­u­tive at a big phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany. He is played by for­mer action star Bren­dan Fraser ( The Mummy), who is beginning to take on the di­men­sions of a float in the Macy’s Thanks­giv­ing Day pa­rade. Fraser is a pretty good ac­tor who is at his best with roles that call for some hu­mor and swag­ger. Nei­ther of those qual­i­ties are called upon here.

The other head­liner is Har­ri­son Ford, an­other for­mer action star. Ford looks to be in much bet­ter shape than Fraser, ex­cept

Pompe and cir­cum­stance: Bren­dan Fraser and Har­ri­son Ford

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