A Detour From La-La Land To Shangri-La

Speeding cross-country in his Porsche toward Beverly Hills and a lucrative career as a plastic surgeon, the brattish young Dr. Ben Stone (Michael J. Fox) crashes into a picket fence in Grady, S.C., and for penance is assigned community service at the local hospital. Stone thinks he's trapped in "Hee-Haw hell." The audience at Doc Hollywood, however, quickly perceives the doc has landed in a cornpone Shangri-La just south of Brigadoon and the magical village in "Local Hero." Director Michael Caton-Jones populates this hamlet with as many lovable eccentrics per square inch as the law allows, and one beautiful, sophisticated ambulance driver (Julie Warner), the better to convince the Yuppie that his life needs a permanent injection of Real Values. Corny and sweet, "Doc Hollywood" has its genuine charms, but they'd be a lot more charming if Caton-Jones and the screen-writers allowed them to sneak up on us. Instead, the movie oversells its whimsy and fits its quirkiness into a sitcom formula that's as preordained as the hero's moral rejuvenation.
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