11 July 2001 | chrisbrown6453
Nurse Betty focuses on an unhappily married coffee shop waitress in Kansas, whose ungratifying life blends with her fascination for soap operas as a form of escapism.
As Betty Sizemore (Renee Zellweger) secretly watches her tyrannical husband Del (Aaron Eckhart) being murdered by the vengeful hitmen Charlie and Wesley (Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock), her bruised sense of reality becomes totally immersed in the fantasy world of her favorite soap opera. In a state of complete denial and delusion, Betty escapes both physically and mentally from her unsatisfied, small town life to search for "Dr. David Ravell" (Greg Kinnear), the handsome and loving hero of "A Reason to Love", a soap opera set in a hospital and produced in Los Angeles. Immune to reality, Betty arrives in L.A. and becomes "Nurse Betty" as she tries to belong in the hospital world of her dream lover. Meanwhile, the angered Charlie and Wesley track Betty down, convinced she is a dangerous witness who also knows about their compromising dealings with Del.
Nurse Betty creates comedy and suspense by contrasting its main character's extreme innocence and optimism with the evident hypocrisy and violence that surround her. By clearly defining the protagonist's difficult life, Nurse Betty justifies its character's tendency to turn away from reality. Thus, while offering a comment about the popularity of the soap opera within the film, Nurse Betty also makes a comment regarding the widespread addiction to television and its celebrities. In addition, Nurse Betty benefits from the effective manipulation of its protagonist's mental state, particularly in those scenes where she cannot distinguish between "Dr. David Ravell", the character, and George McCord (Greg Kinnear), the actor who plays him. Betty's incapacity to recognize George as an actor leads to funny misunderstandings, which stress the magnitude of her delusional state. However, in spite of these successes, Nurse Betty suffers from the troubling characterizations through which the narration evolves. For example, while Charlie and Wesley are consistently portrayed as a comical pair, the brutality of their actions undermines any sense of appreciation or acceptance the viewer might have initially experienced. Similarly, although the initial scenes establish Del as a detestable man, the humiliation and violence he experiences with his murderers surpass all the humiliation and violence he caused his wife Betty.
Finally, toward the end of the film, Charlie undergoes awkward transformations as he develops an obsession for Betty; an obsession which results in noble feelings of love, and which ultimately destroys him. Consequently, since the characters' roles as victims lack consistency, the story's victimization processes seem random and unsubstantial. All in all, Nurse Betty's indeterminacy --rather than creating suspense-- weakens its characters and pollutes its plot.