13 March 2009 | moonspinner55
Certainly well-intentioned, but not especially well-made or well-cast...
Raquel Welch, teaching psychology in the first scene of the TV-movie "Right to Die", looks as out of place at the chalkboard as she would be performing brain surgery or landing a jumbo jet. She's obviously a beautiful, talented woman, but her range is limited--and a Raquel Welch without sauciness or pizazz is an automatic disappointment. Once you get the message that Rocky is going the Serious Thespian route here, diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and wasting away without actually dying, the picture becomes an arduous journey. Michael Gross, as Welch's helpless husband, is saddled with a rather hopeless task: portraying the angry spouse who loves the woman he used to know, berating her after she loses her oxygen tube and calls him for help (what should have been an intense, ugly scene is sentimentalized for us so that we don't feel any less for this man--but who's the victim here?). Veteran director Paul Wendkos probably thought he was doing first-rate dramatic work but, with Welch's casting, the movie feels like a stunt, an unconvincing one designed to win awards. This worthy subject matter isn't treated gingerly--there are some fairly strong scenes--but Wendkos is too preoccupied with rosy trimmings. As a result, "Right to Die" becomes an actors' showcase which fails to showcase the actors to their proper advantage.