Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Caton-Jones|
|Produced by||Deborah D. Johnson |
|Written by||Jeffrey Price|
Peter S. Seaman
|Based on||What? Dead...Again?|
by Neil B. Shulman
|Music by||Carter Burwell|
|Edited by||Priscilla Nedd-Friendly|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|August 2, 1991|
|Box office||$54.8 million|
Doc Hollywood is a 1991 American romantic comedy film directed by Michael Caton-Jones and written by Daniel Pyne along with Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman, based on Neil B. Shulman's book What? Dead...Again?. The film stars Michael J. Fox, Julie Warner, Barnard Hughes, Woody Harrelson, David Ogden Stiers, Frances Sternhagen, and Bridget Fonda.
The film was shot on location in Micanopy, Florida.
Having completed his medical residency in a Washington, D.C. hospital, Dr. Benjamin "Ben" Stone drives to Beverly Hills for a job interview with noted plastic surgeon Dr. Halberstrom. While passing through Grady, South Carolina, Ben crashes into a fence to avoid hitting a cow. The fence belongs to Judge Evans, who then sentences him to 32 hours of community service at the town's medical clinic. Mayor Nick Nicholson and a reception committee greet Ben, hoping to hire him to replace Dr. Aurelius Hogue, who is planning to retire. While his 1956 Porsche Speedster is being repaired, Ben tends to patients and flirts with ambulance driver Vialula (better known as "Lou"), a single mother of a four-year-old daughter. Local insurance agent Hank Gordon also courts Lou, while Nancy Lee, the mayor's daughter, pursues Ben.
The town's residents begin integrating Ben into their small-town life. Hogue initially dismisses Ben as too young and inexperienced until Ben saves his life from a heart attack. Grateful, Hogue privately calls Halberstrom explaining Ben's delay due to his enforced community service (which he explains as being "volunteer work"), while Judge Evans releases Ben from his remaining sentence. On the eve of Ben's departure, he shares an intimate evening with Lou. Unwilling to exploit the situation or incite Hank's jealousy, Ben secretly leaves town at night. Near the town's reservoir, Ben happens upon a local man whose wife is in labor inside their car. After a short hesitation, he stops to help. During the delivery, Ben's Porsche is once again damaged when a fatigued carnival truck driver knocks into it.
Ben prepares to leave the next day. The community has chipped in and bought him a plane ticket to Los Angeles. Lou, not wanting Ben to waste his talents in a small town, suppresses her feelings and tells him she is marrying Hank.
Dr. Halberstrom hires Ben based on Hogue's recommendation. Beverly Hills' superficiality soon leaves Ben, who grew up in a small town, feeling depressed and ostracized. A few weeks later, Hank and Nancy Lee arrive in Los Angeles, bringing Ben's repaired car with them. After Hank tells Ben that he and Lou broke off their engagement, Ben returns to Grady and reconciles with her.
- Michael J. Fox as Dr. Benjamin "Ben" Stone, an aspiring surgeon.
- Julie Warner as Vialula/"Lou", a tomboyish ambulance driver living in Grady who is a single mother and is a law student.
- Barnard Hughes as Dr. Aurelius Hogue, an elderly doctor in Grady.
- Woody Harrelson as Hank Gordon, Grady's local insurance salesman.
- David Ogden Stiers as Mayor Nick Nicholson, the mayor of Grady who is also the owner of the town's café.
- Frances Sternhagen as Lillian, a member of Grady's welcoming committee.
- Bridget Fonda as Nancy Lee Nicholson, the daughter of Nick Nicholson.
- Roberts Blossom as Judge Evans, the judge who sentences Ben to community service.
- Eyde Byrde as Nurse Packer, Grady's residential nurse who oversees Ben's community service.
- Mel Winkler as Melvin, a mechanic charged with the duty to restore Ben's car.
- George Hamilton as Dr. Halberstrom, a Beverly Hills doctor.
- Adele Malis-Morey as Woman with Glasses
- Time Winters as Kyle Owens
- K.T. Vogt as Mary Owens
The film's soundtrack features the Chesney Hawkes song "The One and Only", which reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It also includes Filip Kutev's "Polegnala e Todora", although his name is spelled Philip Kouter.
The film was met with positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 68% based on reviews from 34 critics. The critical consensus reads: "Doc Hollywood isn't particularly graceful in its attempt to put a '90s spin on its Capraesque formula, but a light touch and a charming cast make its flaws easy to forgive."
Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that "Mr. Fox, blithe and funny as ever, amusingly shrugs off each new surprise the film has to offer", adding that "while retaining his boyish appeal, Mr. Fox also seems a shade more substantial this time, possibly because he is seen making life-or-death decisions when not fielding comic lines". She did, however, say that "the screenplay, by Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman and Daniel Pyne, is occasionally sharp-tongued but more often pleasantly knee-deep in rustic corn".
Peter Rainer of the Los Angeles Times remarked that "[I]f you have any doubt as to the outcome, you haven't been paying attention to the latest self-serving movie trend. The back-to-basics, anti-greed message of Doc Hollywood has been all over the screens this season, from TV's Northern Exposure to the movies' City Slickers, Regarding Henry, Life Stinks and The Doctor". He added:
Doc Hollywood draws its energy almost exclusively from cliché. Caton-Jones, perhaps because he's Scottish, feels free to indulge himself with every piece of small-town, movie-derived Americana he can train his camera on; he's an equal-opportunity borrower. Even Local Hero, directed by fellow Scotsman Bill Forsyth, gets pillaged.
The cornball rowdiness is partially redeemed by the good cast, which includes Woody Harrelson as a lunky insurance salesman, David Ogden Stiers as the mayor, Roberts Blossom as a judge, Barnard Hughes as the town's decrepit doctor and Frances Sternhagen as a local busybody. Bridget Fonda turns up as a Hollywood-struck belle and, as usual, she's much stronger than her role allows for. Fonda has the power and the sass to become a major actress. Why did she bother with this dinky cameo?
Michael J. Fox, as in The Secret of My Success and the Back to the Future films, goes in for a lot of scampering here. In between scampering, he mugs. It's probably just as well that Fox doesn't bring much gravity to the role; if he were any moonier and heartfelt, the film might really be exposed as a crock.
Roger Ebert rated the film a 3 out of 4 stars stating "On the basis of the movie's trailer, I was expecting Doc Hollywood to be a comedy. And it is a comedy. But it surprised me by also being a love story, and a pretty good one – the kind where the lovers are smart enough to know all the reasons why they shouldn't get together, but too much in love to care."
The makers of the Disney/Pixar film Cars have been accused of plagiarizing its plot from this film. "Many reviewers also felt that Cars' plot was too indebted to the 1991 Michael J Fox comedy Doc Hollywood, in which a hotshot Los Angeles doctor learns a new set of values when he is stranded in an average American town. 'It just rips off Doc Hollywood, almost note for note,' said Christy Lemire of the San Francisco Chronicle." Critic Simon Kinnear of Total Film concurred, stating "Actually, this one pretty much is just 'Doc Hollywood with cars.'"
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- "Home - Cinemascore". Cinemascore. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
- Doc Hollywood (1991), retrieved 2019-06-16
- "Review/Film; A Hollywood Doctor In American Squashland". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Doc Hollywood': Southern Exposure". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- Ebert, Roger. "Doc Hollywood Movie Review & Film Summary". www.rogerebert.com. Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
- Cerone, Daniel (1991-08-06). "Weekend Box Office: 'Terminator 2' Surrenders Top Spot". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- Fox, David J. (1991-08-20). "Weekend Box Office: The Summer Doldrums Continue". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
- Fox, David J. (1991-08-27). "Weekend Box Office: List-Toppers Are Listless". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-13.
- "Pixar's Cars stalls with reviewers". The Guardian. June 7, 2006. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
- Simon Kinnear (July 30, 2012). "50 Great Movies Accused of Being Rip-Offs". Total Film. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
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