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Nurse Betty

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Nurse Betty

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Renee Zellweger
Director: Neil LaBute
Rated: R
RunTime: 110 Minutes
Release Date: September 2000
Genre: Comedy

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Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Irresistible Renee Zellweger stars in this darkly comedic romantic fable as Betty Sizemore, a soap-opera obsessed Kansas housewife caught between fantasy and reality. She's a plucky, small-town waitress whose philandering, abusive husband is brutally scalped and shot in their dining-room by two professional hitmen when a shady drug deal goes sour. Cowering in an adjoining den, she's emotionally traumatized by witnessing the violence. Her reaction is to enter a fugue state, defined by the American Psychiatric Assoc. as "a combination of amnesia and physical fright," impelling the individual to flee from customary surroundings, assuming a new identity. So, in her delusion, she becomes Nurse Betty, a character on "A Reason to Love," who adores Dr. David Ravell whom she jilted six years ago. Determined to right this wrong, she takes off for Los Angeles, not knowing that the hitmen's drugs are stashed in her Buick. Inspired by "Being There," "Purple Rose of Cairo" and "Pulp Fiction," the clever, twist-filled script by John C. Richards & James Flamberg should cop an Oscar nomination, and Neil LaBute's farcical direction contrasts with the bitter bleakness of "Your Friends & Neighbors" and "In the Company of Men." Renee Zellweger exudes enough wacky, guileless, sweet innocence to emerge as a beguiling Oscar contender, yet it's Morgan Freeman who astonishes as the elder, courtly hitman who does a dream dance sequence on the edge of the Grand Canyon at night. Chris Rock is hilarious as his acerbic, hard-headed, excitable protege with Greg Kinnear, Aaron Eckhart and Allison Janney delivering shimmering supporting gems. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Nurse Betty" is a weird, deliriously funny 8, a crazed, playful, defiantly twisted collision of alternate realities.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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