Director Neil LaBute blends genres in this intriguing but never quite successful entry -- it was his first film working from someone else's script -- that resembles a throwback to Joel and Ethan Coen's films of the 1980s, only without their supreme skill. On the plus side, however, Nurse Betty is one of the rare films that improves as it goes along, and the performances are mostly first-rate, especially those of Morgan Freeman, whose characterization is steady and sturdy, and the delightfully oblivious Renee Zellweger, a perfect choice for the lead role. A departure from his studies in verbal cruelty, LaBute fumbles a bit with the needlessly violent first reel (which involves an onscreen scalping that seemingly nobody will find appetizing), but finds his footing when the film settles into a charming and original romantic-comedy groove. An interesting film to say the least -- and one with definite cult appeal -- Nurse Betty was the only American film to take home a prize at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival -- for Best Screenplay.
by Jason Clark review