Inspired by a true story, director Tom Vaughan's 'Extraordinary Measures' stars Brendan Fraser and Keri Russell as John and Aileen Crowley, two parents who stop at nothing to save their two children after they've been afflicted with a rare genetic disorder. Ultimately, the Crowleys join forces with a cranky specialist (Harrison Ford) to find a cure for the mysterious and fatal Pompe disease.

Despite a three-hanky trailer that had the ability to reduce even the most stoic viewers to tears, the movie itself -- the first from the newly-established CBS Films -- does not appear to have received the same heartfelt reception. In fact, Ford's growling performance seemed to garner as much attention as the inspirational story.

Medical mystery, or just a case of a middling movie? Here's what the critics had to say: Inspired by a true story, director Tom Vaughan's 'Extraordinary Measures' stars Brendan Fraser and Keri Russell as John and Aileen Crowley, two parents who stop at nothing to save their two children after they've been afflicted with a rare genetic disorder. Ultimately, the Crowleys join forces with a cranky specialist (Harrison Ford) to find a cure for the mysterious and fatal Pompe disease.

Despite a three-hanky trailer that had the ability to reduce even the most stoic viewers to tears, the movie itself -- the first from the newly-established CBS Films -- does not appear to have received the same heartfelt reception. In fact, Ford's growling performance seemed to garner as much attention as the inspirational story.

Medical mystery, or just a case of a middling movie? Here's what the critics had to say:

Roger Ebert: "The Crowleys were brave and resourceful, and their proactive measures saved the lives of their children -- and many more with Pompe. This is a remarkable story. I think the film lets them down. It finds the shortest possible route between beginning and end. It also sidesteps the point that the U.S. health-care system makes the cure unavailable to many dying children; they are being saved in nations with universal health coverage."

Miami Herald: "Everything about this excruciatingly dull, talky film screams made-for-network-TV: The I'm-only-here-for-a-paycheck performances by famous actors; the Crate and Barrel catalog mise-en-scene; the syrupy, heartwarming score that lays the pathos on so thickly you gag on it."

Time: "While Ford growls and prowls like Darth Vader advancing on Han Solo, Fraser keeps the story anchored in reality. Meredith Droeger does too: as the Crowleys' afflicted daughter, she's a smart little bundle of fighting spirit. So is the movie, which keeps its head while digging into your heart. You have this critic's permission to cry in public."

'Extraordinary Measures' trailer


The Arizona Republic: "Director Tom Vaughan's film certainly means well. And it gets some things right, even when it might have taken an easier route. Yet the overall feel is one of a generic, feel-good drama, albeit one with Harrison Ford stomping around most of the time as if someone kicked him in the shins. One suspects that this is a story that deserved better."

Orlando Weekly: "Why bother rehashing what 'Lorenzo's Oil' did better nearly two decades ago? Well, because that film wasn't about this disease, and while a book or a website could help put a human face on an ailment, it can't put Brendan Fraser or Harrison Ford's faces on it. Chances are, if you're willing to see this, you'll cry because a real-life kid somewhere has a real life now, and a real family that's endured similar tribulations couldn't be more grateful for such a breakthrough. That's all fine, and it's worth infinitely more than a measly star rating can measure. But if I was crying when the lights came up, it's only because no one has yet found a cure for the common TV movie."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Without complicated characters or cinematic smarts, 'Extraordinary Measures' relies on an all-too-ordinary formula. ... There's nothing cinematic about this turgid tearjerker except the slumming presence of movie star Harrison Ford."

Variety: "'Extraordinary Measures' takes reasonable care to enliven the fact-based story of a father's endless negotiations with the medical establishment on behalf of his terminally ill kids. Yet this first CBS Films release doesn't reach far beyond its smallscreen genotype as a disease-of-the-week telepic, despite the star power of Brendan Fraser as the desperate dad and Harrison Ford as an eccentric, ornery researcher."
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