Doc Hollywood (1991) Directed by Michael Caton-Jones. With Michael J. Fox, Julie Warner, Barnard Hughes, Woody Harrelson, David Ogden Stiers, Frances Sternhagen, George Hamilton, Mel Winkler and Bridget Fonda.
Thanks in equal part to the likeable screen presence that is Michael J. Fox and an old fashioned, timeless quality – Doc Hollywood survives as a charming and enjoyable slice of escapism that can easily be forgiven its predictable narrative.
Post Back to the Future Michael J. Fox was one of the most bankable actors on the planet. Not only had he proved such a popular choice as time-traveller, Marty McFly, he had also proved he could effortlessly command a lead role as he won the hearts of TV audiences throughout the 80’s in the sit-com, Family Ties. With a rare combination of cross-demographic appeal and such precise and intelligent comic timing, Fox was the ideal star for the Hollywood star-vehicle. Director, Michael Caton-Jones knew this, and his film is a perfect example.
Fox plays Benjamin Stone, a hot-shot plastic surgeon on his way to L.A to embark on a new life and career in the bright lights of the big city. On his travels, he skids off road in his 1956 Porche and winds-up with a community service order to serve as local doctor for the townsfolk of Grady, a small town with a big heart.
In many ways, this sums up the picture. A small film with a big heart. Doc Hollywood won’t having you laughing in the aisles, nor will you need endless hankies to dry your tears – but it does have an almost impossible amount of charm, despite the odd baffling obscenity. Not only is it adorable in its performances, it’s also lovingly shot. The sense of community spirit and backdrop of a more innocent lifestyle is something that might not only seduce Doc Hollywood, but us too. 4/5