Sunday, February 2, 2014

Extraordinary Measures (2010) [PG] ***

John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) is a marketing executive living in Portland, Oregon with his wife Aileen (Keri Russell) and their three children. Their two younger children suffer from Pompe disease, a rare genetic illness that prevents the body from producing a sugar-metabolizing enzyme, which results in gradual degeneration and death.

Refusing to accept their doctor's advice to enjoy their children while they can, Crowley contacts Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford), a flinty, reclusive University of Nebraska theoretical biochemist whose research into finding a treatment for the disease has shown promise. Crowley convinces Stonehill that his newly-formed foundation can fund Stonehill's research, and the two men start a biotech firm, with backing from a venture capitalist. Progress is slow, however, and with the venture capitalist threatening to cancel funding, Crowley and Stonehill manage to sell their company to a much larger biotech firm, one with the resources to be successful.

This CBS production is really two stories – John and Aileen Crowley's struggle to save the lives of their children, and a glimpse into the world of biotech research and the long, tortuous process to gain FDA approval for a new drug. Production values are good, and the three main players all give credible performances. Parents of young children will identify with the plight of the Crowleys, but other viewers may have difficulty identifying with any of the characters. Those who enjoy medical mystery films, or TV shows like House, will enjoy this one. Residents of Portland, Oregon will recognize the filming locations, including the Nike Campus in Beaverton and the Oregon Health Sciences University. 

Label: drama    

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