Nurse Betty (2000)

(In theaters, November 2000) There’s a standard comedy plot shtick that drives me absolutely crazy: The one where a character is doing something completely stupid while thinking it’s perfectly legitimate, and when the deception will inevitably be discovered. The only thing you can do is count down the seconds before the character’s humiliation. Now imagine a film that spends more than forty-five minutes on that subject. Looking forward to it? If not, skip Nurse Betty, a misguided “comedy” in which a pair of hitmen kill in graphic detail and a waitress becomes so unhinged with reality that she chases a favorite soap star. Not many laughs here, nor overly impressive technical credits: The direction is flat and even if Renee Zellweger is as adorable as always, the other characters don’t manage to be very sympathetic. (Though the Latino girlfriend is pretty). Script-wise, coincidences abound and Morgan Freeman’s characters sounds as if he escaped from an unusually pretentious Tarantino movie without bringing the witty dialogue with him. Humiliation and discomfort seem to be the goal of the film, and if the result seems to confuse some critic in thinking it’s rather good, most average moviegoers will reach for the fast-forward (or even the stop/rewind) button.

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