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.
by Bhob Stewart synopsis