Nurse Betty

Nurse Betty (2000)
USA Entertainment
Cast: Renee Zellweger, Greg Kinnear
Extras: Commentary Tracks, Deleted Scenes, ‘A Reason To Love’ Segments, Trailers and TV Spots

After watching ’Nurse Betty’, it’s very easy to see why Renee Zellweger won a Golden Globe for her performance and was nominated for an Oscar. What’s not easy to fathom is why this film was marketed as a light-hearted comedy. Zellweger stars as Betty, a small-town waitress who longs to be a nurse, and who is also infatuated with the soap opera, ’A Reason to Love’. After viewing a traumatic event involving her husband (Aaron Eckhart) and two hitmen (Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock), Betty decides to leave her small Kansas town and head for Hollywood to meet the man of her dreams, Dr. David Ravell (Greg Kinnear) of ’A Reason to Love’. When Betty reaches Los Angeles, a series of odd events take place, which lead her to not only become a nurse, but to meet Dr. Ravell as well. But, does Betty realize that Ravell is just a character on a TV show? Also, does she know that she’s now being pursued by the two hitmen, who feel that she’s a potentially dangerous witness. All of these questions and more will be answered as ’Nurse Betty’ spirals to a conclusion.

While ’Nurse Betty’ does have some humorous moments, the majority of the film plays out as a drama, most likely due to director Neil LaBute bringing his independent sensibilities to the film. While some of the film is very tongue-in-cheek, other parts are quite serious, and the film never seems to make up its mind about what it wants to be. Also, some of the comedy is very light, but most of it is very black. Any movie where Chris Rock isn’t that entertaining is suffering from some severe problems. While Zellweger brings a needed does of humanity to her role as Betty, many of the other characters seem a bit two-dimensional and overall, the film left me feeling very hollow.

USA Home Entertainment has done a fine job with the 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer of ’Nurse Betty.’ The digital transfer has brought us a nearly flawless picture, and the image is very sharp and crisp, showing basically no grain and zero artifacting. There are no defects from the source print present, and the colors look very good. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack delivers clear and audible dialogue, as well as a well-balanced score. As this is a dialogue-driven film, there isn’t much in the way of surround sound, save for musical cues or loud sound effects.

The ’Nurse Betty’ DVD offers us two audio commentaries. The first offers director Neil LaBute with cast members Chris Rock, Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, and Renee Zellweger. The second commentary once again features LaBute, with composer Rolfe Kent, producer Gail Mutrux, costume designer Lynette Meyer, producer Steve Golin, and cinematographer Jean-Yves Escoffier. Both commentaries are very similar in that they are laid-back and relaxed. It’s obvious that all of these people got along well while making the film, and they are having a great time watching and discussing ’Nurse Betty’. Between both talks, you will learn most everything about the making of the film. The DVD also offers nine segment from the ’A Reason to Love’ show, most of which are glimpsed in the background during ’Nurse Betty’. Five deleted scenes are included on the DVD, as well as the theatrical trailer and six TV spots.