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‘Doc Hollywood’

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
August 02, 1991


Michael Caton-Jones
Michael J. Fox;
Julie Warner;
Bridget Fonda;
Woody Harrelson;
George Hamilton
Children under 13 should be accompanied by a parent

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Somewhere between its fuzzy lines, "Doc Hollywood" seems to be a call for

Yuppies to wind down and fall in love with the girl next door.

In this case, the yup is Washington physician Michael J. Fox, on his way to Beverly Hills to make big bucks in plastic surgery. The girl (newcomer Julie Warner) is a single parent who studies law when she isn't driving the town ambulance.

They meet in (fictional) Grady, S.C., after Fox's beloved '56 Porsche careens off the road and makes toothpicks of some Grady resident's new picket fence. The town's low on medical help, so small-town judge Roberts Blossom orders the doctor to work 32 hours community service. To add to Fox's misery, Grady's only repair shop won't take credit cards.

This comedy, directed by Michael Caton-Jones, is as stalled as Fox's Porsche. It's too flat to be funny and too trite to be meaningful. As for the love between Fox and Warner, a many splendored thing it ain't. When he first sets eyes on her, she's skinny-dipping. She walks unbashfully past his sagging jaw and says, "You can blink now."

This isn't a bucolic, small-town romance. It's "Porky's."

While Fox waits -- and we wait -- for Warner essentially to put out, he's taking pulses, disengaging fishhooks from thumbs and putting stethoscopes to the chests of good, local folks. He's even reading letters for one illiterate family. He is, of course, learning what life's really about.

But he's learning it from characters so shopworn they could send the most couchbound Nielsen family screaming into the night. Fox's rural, eccentric friends include nose-in-everything mayor David Ogden Stiers, unattached vixen Bridget Fonda, goofy insurance salesman Woody ("Cheers") Harrelson and Barnard Hughes, as the kind of curmudgeonly country doctor who ought to do Quaker Oats ads.

Grady bills itself as "America's squash capital," so you can expect an annual parade featuring people dressed like gourds. If that doesn't make you laugh, you never will.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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