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Extraordinary Measures


Stars: Brendan Fraser, Harrison Ford, Keri Russell, Meredith Droeger, Jared Harris, Alan Ruck, Patrick Bauchau, Dee Wallace, Courtney B Vance, Diego Velazquez, David Clennon

Director: Tom Vaughan

Heart-tugging but distinctly undynamic, this film treads Lorenzo's Oil territory with its based-on-truth story of parents, Mr and Mrs Crowley (Fraser, Russell) - and particularly the father - who, with two of their children diagnosed with Pompé Disease, a rare genetic disorder similar to muscular dystrophy, which causes a deficiency in the enzyme that breaks down sugar, leading to muscle weakness and enlargement of vital organs, became determined to find a treatment that would prolong their lives.

Crowley tracks down a cantankerous scientist (Ford) doing research on an enzyme that may help, and raises thousands of dollars to fund his efforts. Even so, they are forced into the clutches of a major chemical corporation, resulting in friction that threatens the project and the tiny lives it aims to help.

Despite its inherent emotional pull, the film drags its feet rather a lot. Fraser's a bit stolid as the impassioned father, Ford rather better as the grouchy scientist and little Droeger better still as the daughter in danger. The story, however, lacks the punch that might have sent us weeping from the cinema.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Sony (CBS Films). Colour by deluxe.
103 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 21 Feb 2010