Critical Care (1997) - Rotten Tomatoes

Critical Care (1997)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Sidney Lumet filmed this hospital satire at a Canadian studio. Alcoholic Dr. Butz (Albert Brooks in old-age makeup) advises younger Dr. Werner Ernst (James Spader) to only treat patients with much insurance. "When the lawyers start crawling all over you," says Butz, "that's when you know you're a doctor." Ernst, a second-year resident working in the ICU with head nurse Stella (Helen Mirren), winds up in the middle of a dispute between two sisters (Kyra Sedgwick and Margo Martindale). One wants to pull the plug on their wealthy father; the other demands that he remain alive (at a cost of $112,800 a month). Soon events swivel from the money-mad medical mire to equally murky legalistics. Steven Schwartz's screenplay was adapted from the novel by Richard Dooling. Shown at the 1997 Chicago Film Festival.more
Rating: PG-13 (adult situations/language)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Steven S. Schwartz
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 15, 2000
Live Home Video


James Spader
as Dr. Werner Ernst
Kyra Sedgwick
as Felicia Potter
Margo Martindale
as Connie Potter
Wallace Shawn
as Furnaceman
Albert Brooks
as Dr. Butz
Philip Bosco
as Dr. Hofstader
Edward Herrmann
as Robert Payne
Colm Feore
as Wilson
James Lally
as Poindexter
Harvey Atkin
as Judge Fatale
Al Waxman
as Sheldon Hatchett
Jackie Richardson
as Mrs. Steckler
Conrad Coates
as Dr. Miller
Caroline Nielson
as Luscious Nurse
Kay Hawtry
as Dr. Butz's Secretary
Don Carmody
as Maitre d'
Kim Roberts
as Intern No. 1
Naomi Blicker
as Intern No. 2
Merwin Mondesir
as Head Injury
Paul Brown
as Insurance Man
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Critical Care

Critic Reviews for Critical Care

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (15) emerges as a magically entertaining blend of heart, soul, mind, wit, farce and, finally, an idyllic idealism.

Full Review… | April 27, 2007
New York Observer
Top Critic

...the performances are juicy and intelligent.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
New York Times
Top Critic

...a drily funny satire about America's health care woes...

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Lumet moves with confidence between satire and intriguing, heightened-reality spirituality.

January 1, 2000
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Critical Care


Not bad medical drama hampered by the fact that for a great deal of the film Spader's character behaves like an idiot. This isn't the actor's fault, he gives as good a performance as possible considering the actions forced on him by the script. He is certainly supported by a high quality cast in almost every role. Kyra Sedgwick is annoying and not terribly convincing but she is the lone sore spot. Helen Mirren is wonderful as an understanding and compassionate nurse and Albert Brooks a stitch as a loony doctor well past his sell by date. The script has many holes but it does make a strong plea for doctors seeing patients as people not just science projects and sources of income.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Lumet tries to do for the US healthcare system what he did for the television industry with Network, but it's lacking bite.

Marcus Woolcott

Super Reviewer

it?s been about 10 years since the last time i watched this. i thought i remembered it being funny, but now it only makes me glad i don?t have health insurance.

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