Entertainment Weekly

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

Movie Review: 'Critical Care'

Posted on

Critical Care

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
R
performer:
Sidney Lumet, Kyra Sedgwick, James Spader
genre:
Drama, Comedy

We gave it an A-

Critical Care
STARRING
James Spader
Kyra Sedgwick
RATED R
109 MINUTES

Most people don’t like to go into hospitals, and they may feel the same way about a hospital movie. But don’t let that keep you from seeing Critical Care (LIVE), a terrifically smart and entertaining send-up of what actually goes on in an intensive care unit. James Spader plays a cynical resident who views being a doctor as an easy way to pick up women. Early on, he ”comforts” a grieving sexpot, played with blowsy bravura by Kyra Sedgwick. She has come to visit her father, a rotting vegetable being kept in a state of permanent unconscious limbo by the miracle of modern technology. Sedgwick and her religious-fanatic sister turn out to be warring over the old man’s fortune.

For all the ruthlessness on display, Critical Care isn’t an over-the-top satire, like Paddy Chayefsky’s The Hospital. It plays its issues close to the bone. As Spader is blackmailed by Sedgwick, we watch him squirm to survive, and the result is the actor’s slyest performance since sex, lies, and videotape. The film also features a rambunctious vaudeville turn by Albert Brooks as a senile managing physician who’s wilier than he looks. Blithely directed by Sidney Lumet, Critical Care takes off on the ways that law, profit, technology, and — yes — compassion have combined to create new ethical nightmares in medicine. It’s the sort of clever mainstream comedy that Hollywood used to do more of, and that now arrives as an unexpected pleasure. A-

Comments