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Vol. LXIV, No. 4
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK!: Professor Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford, left) discusses the latest progress in his research efforts to find a cure for Pompe Disease, that two of John (Brendan Fraser) and Aileen (Keri Russell, not shown) Crowley’s children have.

Extraordinary Measures: Parents Use “Extraordinary Measures” to Save Their Children

Kam Williams

Two of John (Brendan Fraser) and Aileen (Keri Russell) Crowley’s three children were born with Pompe Disease, a condition that prevents the body from digesting sugar. At the time, infants diagnosed with this rare genetic disorder typically died before reaching the age of two. That’s why, when their daughter and son, Megan (Meredith Droeger) and Patrick (Diego Velasquez), reached their 6th and 8th birthdays respectively, doctors suggested that the parents should be content with the fact that both children had managed to survive as long as they had.

Nonetheless, John, a Harvard MBA employed by the pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers, decided to dedicate himself to saving his children’s lives. So, he traveled to the University of Nebraska to meet face-to-face with Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford), who was the leading scientist in research efforts towards finding a cure for Pompe Disease.

John was dismayed to learn that the professor’s progress had stalled due to a lack of funding. In fact, the Nebraska football coach’s salary was greater than the amount of money that was available to support Stonehill’s project. This was particularly unfortunate since Stonehill claimed to be on the verge of a breakthrough in his work.

So, John and the unorthodox brilliant professor quit their jobs and established a foundation that was dedicated to finding a cure for the disease. John used his business experience to raise $100 million dollars; while Dr. Stonehill focused on discovering a drug which would do the work of the Pompe Disease patients’ missing enzyme.

Directed by Tom Vaughan, Extraordinary Measures is based on the best seller book The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million — and Bucked the Medical Establishment — in a Quest to Save His Children, by Pulitzer Prize winner Geeta Anand. The movie revolves around the strained relationship between Crowley and Stonehill, while the audience waits to see whether Megan and Patrick will be helped by Stonehill’s research efforts.

Harrison Ford shines in his role and Brendan Fraser and Keri Russell also do a fine job. The movie is moving in spite of the formulaic Hollywood approach to the depiction of the Crowleys’ inspirational story.

Very Good (3 stars) Rated PG for mature themes, suggestive material, and mild epithets. Running time: 106 Minutes. Studio: CBS Films.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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