Stars: Renee Zellweger, Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, Chris Rock
Renee Zellweger is at her absolutely most charming in this oddball black comedy of a delusional waitress who travels to Los Angeles in search of her long-lost love. She’s matched in talent by Greg Kinnear, Morgan Freeman and comedian Chris Rock who’s making quite a presence in films these days.
Zellweger is Betty Sizemore, a small-town waitress at the Tip Top diner who’s mundane existence is lightened by her all-consuming interest in “A Reason to Live”, a hospital-themed soap opera featuring the very cute and very sensitive Dr. David Ravell (Greg Kinnear). She fancies herself hopelessly in love with him.
Along come Charlie and Wesley (Freeman and Rock), two goons who murder, in a most vile manner her beastly, stupid husband Del, a used car salesman. The trauma of witnessing the murder transports Betty into a dissociative state and she hits the road in one of her husband’s cars, the very one that the killers are seeking. She heads to Los Angeles and into the arms of her obsession, good old Doctor David. Never mind that neither the doctor nor his hospital really exist.
And the whole time, not far behind are Charlie and Wesley.
Zellweger is the kewpie doll of filmdom in this movie. She couldn’t be cuter with that pouty, pudgy little face of hers. Freeman is elegant and cool no matter what he does and Chris Rock plays the irreverent protégé to the hilt. Kinnear is perfectly cast as the egotist actor who’s caught Betty’s eye. This is top notch casting. The story, although highly farfetched, is lots of fun despite the challenge of jumping from Betty’s lighthearted escapades to real danger at the hands of the killers. It’s up to Freeman to smooth the way which he does ably by becoming enamored of Betty and allows himself his own fantasies.
Lotta says I loved Nurse Betty. The only criticism would be that the violence to Del was a bit gruesome and needn’t have been. And if Rock’s filthy mouth had been quelled, the film could have gotten itself a nice little PG-13 rating, but alas, blood and bad language garnered it an R.