Critical Care | Chicago Reader

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Sidney Lumet directed this semicomedy about the economics and morality of health care, and it's far from being a typical project for him. The lively script by Chicagoan Steven S. Schwartz—adapted from a novel by Richard Dooling and alternating between bracing attacks on greed in the medical profession (expressed most directly in a wonderful comic turn by a heavily made-up Albert Brooks), stabs at the metaphysical issues of life support, and hit-or-miss caricatures—probably would work well on the stage but often seems congested as a movie. James Spader is miscast as the lead doctor and Anne Bancroft wasted as an allegorical nun, but Helen Mirren and Wallace Shawn fare much better, while Kyra Sedgwick oscillates between enjoyable mugging and overkill. Only some of this movie works, but the brighter parts of the dialogue and the overall adventurousness of the undertaking carried me.

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