Nurse Betty

Reviewed by Joe Soria (Posted on Sept. 12)

Joe's Film Review: 

Director Neil Labute has made 2 films before Nurse Betty. Both of which are brilliant 4 star harsh satire that would be ranked in my top 50 of all time. In The Company of Men would probably be in my all time top ten. Nurse Betty is not as good of a movie. It's a film of equal caliber story and but less to say. There's no strong point, provocative brought out by the film. It's a dark comedy with a a lot more straight jokes, instead of hysterical satirical illusions.

        The film follows Betty Sizemore, a waitress from Kansas who has never left the state. She decides to leave familiarity and venture to Hollywood in hopes of meeting the love of her life, a soap opera star (Greg Kinnear). Two hitmen, Chris Rock and Morgan Freeman, are on her tail because she has mistakenly taken something that didn't belong to her.

        While original in style and story, the message is nothing new. That's how you can tell that Labute himself didn't write it. He's translating someone else's material with his excessively brutal style.

        His style is best resembled in an interrogation scene. The hitmen are confronting Betty's husband, Del, about the location of the lost item. Eckhart, a veteran of the previous 2 Labute films, plays this low brow used car salesman/ cheating husband Del who's in some deep shit. The dialogue in the scene is utterly brilliant. An interrogation that starts with the belittling of towns people and ends with an argument about the suffering of the American Indians, or as that ignorant hick Del would say "injuns".

        Like after many other directors who build good creds with the lower budget projects, they get a chance at something bigger. Something that's not just his vision but also now he must turn a profit, a career step up. His first two movies were lower budget and easily profitable.

        Chris Rock showcases his acting talents for most of the movie but sometimes falls into his comfort zone, the stand up comedy one liners. Morgan Freeman is the voice of reason as usual. He's a intelligent/ experienced career criminal on his last job before retirement. He is also surprisingly marvelous as a comedic actor. the classic dramatic thespian goes comedic and is successful. Both of them find solace and meaning in their job. They find importance and necessity in their actions and the way it's done.

        Zwelleger is actually funny in a comedic role. She was absolutely awful in Me, Myself, & Irene. She was sweet, funny, and likable. She becomes the unrealized and repressed beauty, Betty. 

        The film centers around a soap opera and the fans who can't get enough. The funniest scenes in the movie feature the storyline and performance of these ridiculous soap opera. The actors are at there worst and it's hysterical. I credit Labute for filming it this way; it was the best way to go.

        Not Labute's best but still one of the best movie's of the year, and by far one of the funniest. The story has some sharp edges even if the point isn't edgy. The whole cast is very funny.

Starring: Renee Zellweger, Chris Rock, Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, Alison Janney
Director: Neil Labute
Writing: John C. Richards

Rating: 3 Stars out of 4 Stars
Running Time: 109 minutes
Rated R for a lot of language and extreme gore. 


Joe's Preview Review:

I love Neil Labute, I love Chris Rock, but I hate, and I mean hate Renee Zwelleger. She had one of the worst comedic performances in Me, Myself and Irene. But through all of that, I have faith in Labute's directing. A man that has done two four star films can do no wrong in my eyes and Morgan Freeman, one of the great American actors. If you've never seen Labute's brilliant harsh satire In the Company of Men, now is a good time to brush up. 


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