Vital Signs | Chicago Reader

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A so-so movie about five third-year medical students—Adrian Pasdar, Diane Lane, Jack Gwaltney, Tim Ransom, and Jane Adams—working in a hospital. Directed by Marisa Silver (Permament Record), with snappy dialogue by screenwriters Larry Ketron and Jeb Stuart, the film aims for the moral tension and jabber under pressure of Howard Hawks's Only Angels Have Wings, but achieves this only occasionally. The cast is likable enough, filled out by Laura San Giacomo (sex, lies, and videotape), Bradley Whitford, William Devane (Family Plot), Norma Aleandro, Lisa Jane Persky, and Jimmy Smits, but the many interconnected miniplots tend to give the film's rhythms a mechanical quality. Despite some three-tone Spielberg lighting behind the credits, this is basically better-than-average TV, nothing more.

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