Nurse Betty (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Renee Zellweger plays a sweet housewife/waitress (Betty) marrried to a slimebag used car dealer. When some of his outside activities run afoul of major criminals, a couple of hit men off him. Betty witnesses the murder, and her way to repress the memory is for her mind to leave the real world and enter into the cast of her favorite soap opera. She gets into a car and drives to L.A., secure in her assumption that she is the long-lost fiancee of the show's star. (Greg Kinnear)

This doesn't sit well with the murderers, for two reasons (1) she is a witness to the murder (2) the car she takes is the one filled with their contraband

And that's the film - Betty crosses the country in search of her imaginary doctor/lover, and the hitmen cross the country in search of her.

For one of the hitmen, an older fellow about to retire, she represents some kind of a rhapsodic last victim. He dreams about her, imagines her motivations, even dances with her on the edge of the Grand Canyon.


The film has a dreamy otherworldly quality about it, so that even in the scenes where everyone recognizes the same reality, it doesn't seem to be our reality.

The people that Zellweger meets along the way all accept her lunacy because she's just so gosh darn cute, and Kinnear is so self absorbed that he doesn't even realize that she's loony. He just thinks she's a method actress, trying for a role on the show, and never slipping out of character. I guess we're supposed to realize that in L.A. she doesn't really seem too strange after all.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic

  • Full-length director and cast commentary, full-length director and crew commentary

  • deleted scenes

  • Soap opera segments

Most critics loved this film, finding it original and offbeat and charming. It didn't work for me. I didn't really see the charm of Zellweger's comic book innocence, and I really had a hard time accepting the tone shifts from brutal grisly murder scenes to Doris Day cutie-pie scenes. Imagine Shirley Temple in a Quentin Tarantino film.

Mostly, though, I felt that it broke the same unity as Lost Souls, the one that says horror movies have to be scary and comedies have to be funny. I sat there thinking, "Yeah, I guss this is kinda cute and fresh, but on the box it said it was a comedy ...."

So, I guess it didn't mesh with my sense of humor, but let me hasten to add that it was popular with critics, and has high ratings at IMDb and Apollo as well.

Note to Chris Rock: you may be the funniest guy in the world, and I'm a big fan, but there is a major difference between being a comic and being a comic actor.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three stars. Maltin 3.5/4, Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4, Apollo 81.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 80% positive overall, 67% from the top critics.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.3, Apollo users a very impressive 81/100.
  • With their dollars ... it got a moderate distribution in 1500 theaters, and brought in a domestic gross of $25 million. The budget was $24 million.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. I guess. I don't know. Everyone else liked it more than I did. I still want to know "where's the beef?"

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