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Betty was unfortunately marketed by its distributers to the wrong audience, many thought they were in fact going to see a comedy, when in fact is was a serious "dark" movie.  Betty even won a "Golden Globe" award for "Best Performance by an Actress".

Nurse Betty
Movie
Betty (Renee Zellweger) is a waitress at a local diner and her husband, Del, (Aaron Eckhart) isn’t exactly the nicest or friendliest human being around. However, after Del is killed by two hitman, Charlie (Morgan Freeman) and Wesley (Chris Rock), Betty seeks out her obsession with the real love of her life, Dr. David Ravell (Greg Kinnear), who appears on Betty’s favorite soap opera. Following her husband’s death, Betty journeys to California where she thinks her long-lost fiancée’, Dr. Ravell is waiting for her! The two hitmen follow her to California with some hilarious results!

"Nurse Betty" is an exceptional drama/comedy that highlights an enjoyable performance by Zellweger as the goofy, loopy and energetic Zellweger’s performance garnered her a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical. The chemistry between Freeman and Rock as the hitmen is perfect. Freeman is the hitman who is assigned to his last "job", while Rock portrays the young and eager hitman who thinks he is ready to pull "jobs" by himself.

Although this film appeared to be a comedy when it was released in theaters, it really isn’t. However, there are some hilarious moments. with some darker, more violent scenes added. I think that is one of the reasons moviegoers missed out on this little gem that should have found an audience. Hopefully it will on DVD.

The script is fantastic, using sharp, hilarious and intelligent dialogue. The plot sounds a little far-fetched and goofy, but I think that is the point. For once, in recent memory, a clever, original film was produced that didn’t fall into the usual pitfalls of Hollywood filmmaking.

Director Neil Labute, previously directed such darker films as "In the Company of Men" and "Your Friends and Neighbors", however, this film is a cheerful shift to material that is lighter with a slight addition of Labute's taste for darker films.

Nurse Betty
Video
From my understanding, USA Films is a relatively new film company that hasn't released many films. (They recently had a huge hit with 2000’s "Traffic".) The transfer of "Nurse Betty" isn't terrific, but its not terrible either. It isn’t so bad that the film couldn’t be watched. The picture displays a sharpness and detail that is apparent, however, I have seen some better transfers on other discs. The colors do not appear to be as vibrant or strong and seem to waver between a somewhat color bleed and a sharp picture. I also noticed some pixelation that in my opinion shouldn’t be happening in the DVD industry due to the large interest by consumers. Companies should be giving it their all to produce the most outstanding DVD edition they can. However, I was pleasantly surprised to notice that there are very minor speckles throughout the entire disc.

Audio
USA Films has presented "Nurse Betty" in Dolby Digital 5.1, however, it seems to be useless as there is very little opportunity for the film to really put to use a 5.1 audio setup. At times I felt like I was listening to an audio track that was recorded in mono. In addition, the surround sound speakers didn't have much of a workout either. I am pleased to report that the dialogue was crisp, clear and intelligible. After all this is a film that is mostly dialogue driven.

Extras
An outstanding amount of extras are contained on this disc including two commentaries, deleted scenes, trailers and television spots, "A Reason To Love" soap opera scenes and a DVD-ROM section.

Nurse Betty
The first commentary is fantastic, featuring Labute as well as cast members, Renee Zellweger, Morgan Freeman, Chris Rock, and Greg Kinnear. This could very well be one of the most entertaining commentaries I have listened to in a while. Technical information, as well as some great stories from the set are discussed. For the most part, the cast addressed their feelings about the film. I strongly recommend this track.

The second commentary is Labute, Rolfe Kent, composer; Gail Mutrux and Steve Golan, producers; Lynette Meyer, costume designer; and Jean Yves-Escoffier, cinematographer. This commentary is definitely for you technical junkies out there who are more interested in learning about the art of film making. I didn't find this commentary as entertaining as the cast commentary, however I do believe that it offers some excellent insider info into how this film was produced.  Also included are five deleted scenes, the theatrical trailer, six television spots, clips from the soap show that are included in the film and a DVD-ROM section.

Overall
Although this film was not a box office smash in the U.S., I still found it to be entertaining and fun. With a clever script and odd characters, "Nurse Betty" was well worth my time. Despite a mediocre video transfer, and an audio track that could have utilized a 5.1 system with the addition of some other noises in the scenes, "Nurse Betty" is not an all out loss. The movie is good and worth taking it out for a spin.


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