Owen Gleiberman
March 08, 2002 AT 05:00 AM EST

John Q

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
100 minutes
Wide Release Date
02/15/02
performer
Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall, Kimberly Elise, Eddie Griffin, Anne Heche, Ray Liotta
director
Nick Cassavetes
distributor
New Line Cinema
author
James Kearns
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Drama

We gave it an C

The subject of corporate medical injustice is overdue for a good honest muckraker, but Nick Cassavetes’ movie doesn’t explore injustice — it exploits it. Informed that his company insurance plan won’t cover a heart transplant for his son, John Q. Archibald (Denzel Washington) is forced to come up with $250,000. Unable to pay, he takes everyone in the emergency room hostage. Cassavetes thinks he’s making Dog Day Afternoon with a cause, but the movie is a shrill, didactic cartoon. Anne Heche plays the head administrator as a particularly clipped breed of fascist android, and James Woods, as a heart surgeon, looks and sounds about as compassionate as a man ordering a lap dance.

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