The Doctor

William Hurt plays a flip, insensitive, successful surgeon who gets a strong dose of reality when he discovers that he has cancer and has to submit to insensitive treatment himself. At least that’s the story; I found Robert Caswell’s insufferable scriptbased on Ed Rosenbaum’s book A Taste of My Own Medicineso phony, and Hurt’s self-ingratiated preening so unvarying, that the surgeon’s supposed character changes proved wholly unconvincing. Even the cant-proof Christine Lahti, who plays his long-suffering wife, nearly gets thrown for a loop by the falsity of the proceedings, though as usual she manages to emerge relatively unscathed. Somewhat less lucky is Elizabeth Perkins as another cancer patient, who’s assigned plaintive lines and attitudes that perhaps no actress could fully transcend. With Mandy Patinkin, Adam Arkin, and Charlie Korsmo; Randa Haines (Children of a Lesser God) directed (1991). (JR)

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