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  Film Reviews: Point Counterpoint, Only Sexier: John Q  

Wednesday, June 12
Point Counterpoint, Only Sexier: John Q
First, I must admit that this film is part of the Ray Liotta Stalker Must See Set (RLSMSS). Yes, I have a Ray Liotta issue. Yes, I see every film he’s in. Yes, I paid money to see “Heartbreakers.” This doesn’t mean that I have a problem. I really don’t have a problem. And stop saying that I’m in denial about it! I must be getting better as I waited until John Q came to the dollar theater. Perhaps that was because Ray merely played a supporting role – the film tries to make out like Denzil Washington is the star.

Denzil Washington plays a good-hearted but down-on-his luck husband and father that appears to have the entire world pitted against him in some vast conspiracy to keep him from improving his station in life. I would like to take a moment to point out that Ray was in no way the root cause of Denzil’s problems. Denzil’s life is filled with a crap job that he loses, a marriage so thick with tension that it could support the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and a child so cute and adorable that something horrible must happen! So horrible that it rouses the great evil of our time, the HMO.

That’s right folks, the HMO. Represented by pure evil (Anne Heche – same difference), the HMO decides that Denzil’s child is too poor to receive a heart transplant. See, Denzil and his wife must simply bid farewell to their son. Evil-lite, James Woods, agrees to waive his surgical fee, but only after it’s obvious that the surgery won’t ever take place. The usual rounds of paperwork, filing appeals, selling everything under the sun and overly long crying scenes take place all to show that the kid still isn’t getting a new heart. Nope, that’s because HMOs are pure evil. Anne Heche is so into cost-cutting measures that she forgoes a bra for the majority of the film, deeming her chest “too insignificant to warrant further support.”

So what’s a father to do? Well, take incredibly bad instruction from a wife that should have known better than to give vague instructions to “do something” to someone so easily confused as a husband. Yes, ladies, those were the sum total of her instructions. While we might understand that “do something” would involve pulling the HMO, Hospital, work, and Social Services people together so that everyone was on the same page – we also understand that the husband cannot possibly interpret all of these steps into that simple phrase. See, this film is EXACTLY why we must instruct men in as many steps as humanly possible. How does Denzil interpret “do something?” He decides that it means “grab a glock, run down to the hospital and take the entire emergency room hostage.”

Yup, faster than you can say “it would have been easier if you would have asked for directions,” the entire ER is held hostage on a Saturday afternoon. We learn that hospital executives don’t work weekends (scandalous!), which makes the hostage negotiation that much more difficult. Robert Duvall makes an appearance as the hostage negotiator, a mere shadow of his former Kilgore and Santini selves. Ray Liotta comes as the police commissioner, in full uniform. For the benefit of a single reader, I must take the time to point out that Ray Liotta looks nothing like Danny Aiello – even in uniform.

While hunting for executives outside, the hostages form a salon where they discuss many of the issues facing the medical community today. Our B issue involves the medical community’s inability to notice the difference between an arm broken by abuse and a fictional carwreck (the line of the movie does have to be “you must be from the slap-em-ho tribe” – delivered by Eddie Griffith who manages to steal just about every scene). Of course, issue A is the dismal state of insurance in our country. One has to wonder just how it is that he has the fortune of taking over an ER with the ability to put together a point-counterpoint-style debate on how HMOs affect the health care system.

The Usual:

The Usual:

Recommendation: Worth a rental – priceless if you’re a Ray Liotta stalker.

Annoying Theater Goer: I must stress that the individuals talking behind us constantly are not the true annoying theater goers. You see, this day appeared to be what I can best describe as a group outing for some mentally challenged adults. I think it is a fine thing to take time out of your week to take such a group out to the movies. What I find fault in is the appropriateness of the film. Based on the questions being asked constantly, I could not help but think that Snow Dogs, Monsters Inc. or Harry Potter might have been much more appropriate and more entertaining for this group. Lesson to volunteer leader – it’s not about you, it’s about them. Next time, pick the movie they want to see!

Main Reason To See This Film: Duh, Ray Liotta.

Main Reason Not To See This Film: The crowd/media circus scenes add to an already reality-strained plot.

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Nudity: No.

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