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Extraordinary Measures

A wispy but uplifting tale of hard-won medical advances

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Just what we need to take the edge off these fraught times -- a feel-good movie about the pharmaceutical industry. Tom Vaughn's light drama is "inspired by real events," but something about its telescoped breeziness feels more Hollywood than history. Nonetheless, there is some truth to this story of a dad (Brendan Fraser) who quits his high-paying corporate job to devote his energy to finding a cure for Pompe, a fatal, degenerative muscular disease that affects two of his three children. He recruits a brilliant but underfunded academic researcher (Harrison Ford, deliciously crotchety) -- and in 90 minutes, they plow through numerous hurdles to a mostly happy ending. The film flirts with reality -- the legal and financial costs of manufacturing new drugs; the gap between science and Rite-Aid. But after namechecking such barricades, the plot slides neatly under them. If you like this sort of Hallmark story, then Measures will meet most of your requirements: handsome actors (including super-spunky children); pretty homes; and a speech or two about why people matter more than profits.

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