Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford in 'Extraordinary Measures'Can you separate a movie from its message? "Inspired by a true story," Extraordinary Measures opens wide today, trumpeting its "inspirational" message and practically daring you not to be "inspired" by its message of hope. The TV ads quote one review comparing the film to recent box office smash The Blind Side, also based on real-life events. (The marketing campaign is impossible to miss if you've watched any TV shows on CBS owned or affiliated stations, since CBS Films produced it.) In these dark economic times, is there anything wrong with promoting a movie's message above and beyond its possible quality?

In his review for Cinematical, Jeffrey M. Anderson observes: "Whenever you have a movie that's based on a true story and is about the brave battle against some horrible disease, a large portion of the audience will be inspired and moved, no matter how brutally awful the movie is. And stepping up to critique the art of a bad movie inevitably sounds a little like critiquing the real-life heroes. This is never the case." Jeff's review is measured and balanced, concluding: "True events deserve better than this."

Having seen the film, I agree completely with Jeff's review; the film is glossy and glamorous and yet completely ordinary and devoid of the inspiration it claims to provide. What about the message of hope and inspiration? It remains in the original story, with the real-life characters, not with Brendan Fraser or the second-billed Harrison Ford. The best thing about the marketing campaign is that it's raised awareness of the battle that John Crowley, his family, and many others have waged against Pompe disease. But I still feel bludgeoned by the advertising. What about you? Do you have any problem with movies that insist you must be inspired?