"Nurse Betty" is a dark comedy which combines two things a thriller with quirky, dark humour as you would expect from a dark comedy and to be honest it works, it is dark and funny. But maybe it is me but there is something about "Nurse Betty" which doesn't quite work but I don't know what because the storyline of a waitress who becomes delusional about a soap star and a hitman who becomes delusional about the waitress is dark and funny. Yet something about "Nurse Betty" is a bit blah or maybe it is that I expected it to be sharper and to be honest it feels drawn out to the point that at 110 minutes it is at least 15 minutes too long.
"Nurse Betty" certainly grabs your attention straight away when we are introduced to soap obsessed Betty (RenÃ©e Zellweger - The Bachelor) as she can pour coffee at the diner without taking her eyes off of the TV. And we also meet Del (Aaron Eckhart) her mullet topped husband who cheats with her at the car lot you have a big smile on your face because we have extreme characters which are funny. And the dark humour comes in with a bang as we watch Del die at the hands of hitmen Charlie (Morgan Freeman - Deep Impact) and Wesley (Chris Rock). This opening is great as is watching Betty basically snap as she witnesses Del's murder and becomes delusional about living in the soap she loves and finding Dr. David (Greg Kinnear_ who she thinks is her ex-fiancee.
In many ways the set up is so terrific that it does mean that what follows has a lot to live up to but never quiet does. What follows is partly about Betty making it to LA where being delusional ends up tracking down the star of her favourite soap and getting romantically involved with his character rather than him. It is amusing especially when people who encounter Betty realise she is a bit wackadoodle as she tells them all about her ex fiancee the doctor.
At the same time as this we have Charlie and Wesley trying to track down Betty over some stolen drugs, the reason why they killed Del which is one of the movies more shocking yet comical scenes. Now whilst Wesley is all agro Charlie is becoming delusional himself because he is falling in love with Betty or at least his own mental impression of Betty built up from a photo he has. It's fun especially when Charlie & Wesley masquerades as cops but it goes from being sharp to being quite ordinary especially as Chris Rock who plays Wesley goes from delivering a character to delivering something loud and annoying.
But the trouble is that whilst these two stories of delusional people come together in a darkly funny manner it feels so drawn out. It just seems to take an age to get to where Betty meets the star of the soap and then another age before Charlie and Wesley catch up to her. And that means that it also lacks the sharpness and punchiness that you expect from a dark comedy.
Thankfully whilst drawn out there are two people who keep it entertaining and RenÃ©e Zellweger is excellent as the delusional and soap obsessed Betty delivering that aspect of being in her own world quite magnificently. When she is talking to others with so much energy about her doctor only to look puzzled when she is questioned by these surprised people it is magnificent. And so is Freeman who as Charlie is this almost bi-polar character a ruthless and confident hitman who almost seems to toy with people yet you then have him falling in love with his vision of Betty.
What this all boils down to is that "Nurse Betty" is fun, it is both dark and comical and to be honest quite imaginative. But it also feels quite drawn out and as such lacks the punch that it so deserves and instead we get dark humour followed by too much nothingness.