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Critical Care (1997)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  31 October 1997 (USA)
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Werner Ernst is a young hospital resident who becomes embroiled in a legal battle between two half-sisters who are fighting over the care of their comatose father. But are they really ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Lally ...
Al Waxman ...


Werner Ernst is a young hospital resident who becomes embroiled in a legal battle between two half-sisters who are fighting over the care of their comatose father. But are they really fighting over their father's care, or over his $10 million estate? Meanwhile, Werner must contend with his nutty supervisor, who insists that he only care for patients with full insurance. Can Werner sidestep the hospital's legal team and do what's best for the patient? Written by Martin Lewison <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


At Memorial Hospital no one ever dies... Until their insurance runs out.


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »





Release Date:

31 October 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cuidados Intensivos  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$43,380 (USA) (31 October 1997)


$141,853 (USA) (14 November 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


[first lines]
Stella: [dropping clipboard] That's six's blood gases. I'm up to oxygen 60%.
Dr. Werner Ernst: Thank you.
See more »


References Beauty and the Beast (1991) See more »


Dry Bones
Performed by the Delta Rhythm Boys
Courtesy of the RCA Records label of BMG Entertainment
See more »

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User Reviews

Once-in-a-lifetime cast wasted in middling hospital dramedy
20 July 2008 | by (Denver, CO) – See all my reviews

Man, talk about a missed opportunity.

This oddly obscure medical film from prolific and uneven legend Sidney Lumet attempts to bridge the gap between comedy and drama, and although occasionally in succeeds (mostly in the snarky repartee between doctor James Spader and nurse Helen Mirren), it mostly fails due to a lack of depth in its characterization, and everything is attempts to do, "Scrubs" has done better at least 10 times a year.

It's basically the plot of the second half of "Million Dollar Baby", from the doctors' point of view, with all the random hospital jokes and long-winded speeches that come with that. Actually, considering Margo Martindale's presence at the vegetable's side, it feels more like that film that I was comfortable with, heh. But, being a James Spader movie, there has to be a random sex scene in the middle of it, and it got me out of that funk. It's not as kinky as I would have anticipated, although he does tape it. Actually, the cast is *shockingly* fabulous and makes me sad that they were wasted in such a middling film. In addition to Spader, we have Kyra Sedgwick (in a bizarrely-dressed performance), Helen Mirren, Anne Bancroft, Albert Brooks, Jeffrey Wright, Wallace Shawn, Colm Feore AND Edward Hermann. Really, you got THAT group together and made a lame, jokey hospital melodrama? Shame on you, Lumet.

It moved quickly and rarely grew painfully tiresome, but as every joke felt flat and every emotional scene fizzled harmlessly, it just made me nostalgic for the time two hours earlier when I was watching "Scrubs". Those were great times.

{Grade: 5.5/10 (C+/C) / #55 (of 66) of 1997}

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