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Nurse Betty (2000), (R)
CAP Score: 32
CAP Influence Density: 3.34
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SUMMARY / COMMENTARY:
*NURSE BETTY* (R) -- violent and saturated with vulgar language. Wanton Violence/Crime score - zero. Impudence/Hate - zero. Offense to God - zero. Drugs/Alcohol - 41. Do you really need to know more? If you really want to know, the 'rest of the story' follows...
Nurse Betty (Renee Zellweger) is a 50% nurse, a housewife, and a waitress with a crud of a husband, Del (Aaron Eckhart) -- a most worthless creep who abuses Betty [Col. 3:19], deals in drugs [2 Cor. 7:1] and cheats every chance he gets [Mal. 1:14], even other drug dealers, which ends up getting him killed *most* violently [Ps. 94:6]. He is bound, tortured, beaten, scalped (by Chris Rock, Dogma), and shot [Mark 7:21]. Just the kinda guy one would like to think got what he deserved, but Jesus still loves this sort of man as much as He loves you and I [John 3:16]. And we are to love this sort as well [1John 3:11]. Not what he has done, but him.
Betty is in love, but not with Del. She loves Dr. David Ravell (Greg Kinnear), a soap opera character whose "real" name is George. So much in love that she is watching Dr. Ravell in another room of the house as her husband's killer's arrive. It seems Del has been dealing in drugs and the suppliers are here to collect. Del not having the money leads the killers, Charlie (Morgan Freeman) and his son Wesley (Chris Rock) into torturing him to make him cough up. When it doesn't work, Wesley harasses Del, beats him, then scalps him. And to put Del out of his misery, Charlie shoots him and kills him. And Betty watches this, too, through a door barely open. It is so unpleasant for her she enters a sort of dementia and simply blocks out all of the reality she has known and has seen -- except for Dr. Ravell. All she knows now is that she must get to him in Los Angeles. So, Betty takes off shortly after her husband's murder. Betty takes Del's car and guess what? The drugs Charlie and Wesley were after go with her. They are in the trunk. So, Charlie and Wesley take off after Betty, taking a household picture of Betty with them. What a father and son team!
Once in Los Angeles, Betty finds Dr. Ravell at a charity banquet. All along Betty has manufactured a fantasy relationship with Dr. Ravell, him being her ex-fiance with whom she must make amends. Betty approaches him with probably the most convincing method acting he has ever seen and decides to play along, thinking she is an actress trying to get in on the soap show. Not in the slightest does Betty waver from her thinking George is Dr. Ravell and not once does she call him George in spite of he and everyone about him telling Betty his name is George. Her "method acting" is not really acting ... in the movie anyway ... since to her he really is her ex-fiance David. But Ravell's reason for playing along is not to discover her talents, not her acting talents anyway. And the viewer is provided the reason Ravell is plays along -- another creep in Betty's life. I do wish to add that in this "dual path reality" Zellweger is very, very good and convincing. All the little nuances, the positioning and movement of the head and facial parts, the angle of her stance, the major and minor body movements and position with respect to her counterparts attuned to the "flavor" of the emotions portrayed, everything were very well orchestrated and finely tuned to the part. In comparison to Zellweger's performance in portraying Dr. Ravel's ex-fiance, all other performers were just there. Also, if all other parts of all other actors and actresses were removed, her performance could quite probably earn a G-rated score.
As Charlie and Wesley tool along after Betty, Charlie begins to fantasize with Betty's picture--the sweet smile, the trusting countenance, and the obvious wholesome cleanness of this bright and vulnerable "angel." Something he has never had in his life. Now he wants it ... err, her. And all along the way Wesley is trying to keep his father in focus for the tasks at hand -- get the drugs in the car Betty is driving. And since she is an eye witness to the murder of her husband, get her, too.
Kudos also to Morgan Freeman. He was in his usual excellent form, especially in the final scenes where he had to portray a 'garbage man of the human soul" while playing a sensitive and caring lonely man, all in the middle of a gunfight. But all the vulgarity that went with it was so disappointing.
That is the gist of the plot and theme. The rest is supportive script and performance -- very vulgar script and menacing performance. Though Rock was the quintessential performer of foul language, most performers hand a finger or two in the foul pie. But not Zellweger, not that I noticed anyway. Even Kinnear was flawless in his portrayal of the brutality of self-centeredness as he changed before our eyes from a relatively pleasant soap star to an ultra-selfish and ugly madman, a Jekyll and Hyde switch, when he did not get his way. But the top notch performances notwithstanding, this movie was violent and vulgar in the extremes, thanks to John C. Richards and James Flamberg, the writers. More than 105 uses of vulgar and/or foul language [Col. 3:8]. Twenty-two uses of God's name in vain both with and without the four letter expletive [Lev. 19:12]. Murder and threats with firearms [Prov. 4:17], intercourse without nudity and dressing to maximize skin exposure [1Ths. 4:3] painted a rather dark picture. Adding to the blackness was knife threats and injury, vehicular homicide, attempts to kill by gunfire, and illegal drugs. As far as possible behavioral templates on attitude, the expressions such as "Just trying to make a statement" regarding the scalping, "It's very natural to kill" and "God kills" were invasive and corruptive.
There is much more, much more to the list of ignominy in this what could have been a relatively tame piece evening entertainment, but I leave that to the listing in the Findings/Scoring section.
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
FINDINGS / SCORING:
NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
Offense to God (O)(2):