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