Extraordinary Measures is by no means a bad film. It's not a great film, but it's a decent enough tale of two parents esperately searching for a way to save the lives of their sick children. The biggest problem it suffers from is that it feels a little too much like an 80s-style telemovie, one of those disease-of-the-week things we saw way too much back then. But it's certainly a worthy drama that won't fail to touch you.
Based on a true story, Extraordinary Measures tells how the Crowleys – father John (Fraser) and mother Aileen (Russell) – seek a cure for a deadly genetic disease that two of their three children are afflicted with. Megan (Droeger) and Patrick (Velazquez) have a a severe neuromuscular disorder called Pompe disease. They live their lives in wheelchairs, with the help of breathing tubes, but their parents try to give them as normal a life as possible. While researhing the disease, and potential cures, online John comes acros the research of a Dr Robert Stonehill (Ford), a university researcher who believes he may be close to a breakthrough. To cut a long story short, Crowley helps Stonehill raise the capital to set up a biotechnology company to develop a "special medicine" to help Pompe sufferers – starting with Megan and Patrick.
Extraordinary Measures is the first feature to come from the newly-formed CBS Films – and its TV company origins are clearly on show. It is, however, a solid and workmanlike effort from all concerned. Fraser is the star here, and while he's looking a little pudgier as he approaches middle age, he still retains the boyish good looks and cheeky grin that saw him gain leading man status in those Mummy movies. Ford, too, is great as the cantankerous, solitary scientist who ultimately has a heart of gold. (Ford also has his executive producer hat on for this one). And Russell is always great to watch, alhough she's not given an awful lot to do here apart from stay at home and care for the kids. Ultimately, though, this is simplky another film about noble parents racng against the clock to save their dying kids. It's a little too mushy at tmes, and some of the dialogue can be a tad cheesy – such as when Stonehill says: "I'm a scientist, not a doctor," which you almost expect him to follow with a "Dammit, Jim". Some of the scientific mumbo-jumbo gets a little tough to follow, too. But for all its faults, Extraordinary Measures has its heart in the right place.