Heartbreak Hospital (review)

Oh, dear. Somebody’s seen Nurse Betty too many times and thought he could do better. Ruedi Gerber’s “satire” on soap operas, the rabidness of their fans, and the insecurities of actors tries to make a desperately strained point about the line between healthy fantasy and unhealthy obsession, but it’s only desperately unfunny when it tries to makes us laugh and desperately unsuspenseful when it tries to make us jump out of our seats. Looney Lottie (Patricia Clarkson: The Pledge) thinks she has a relationship with soap star Milo Derringer (John Shea), who plays the dashing Dr. Jonathan on the afternoon sudser Heartbreak Hospital. Lottie’s neighbor, Neely (Chelsea Altman) is an aspiring actress just cast on the show, which strains her relationship with her boyfriend, Tonio (Demián Bichir) when Milo starts coming on to her, which makes Lottie jealous because she believes “Dr. Jonathan” is hers. Meanwhile, HH diva Sunday Tyler (Diane Venora: The Insider) starts making eyes at Tonio. If it all sounds like a soap itself, well, I think that was Gerber’s intention, but it’s too ridiculously farfetched without ever being humorous about it to be swallowed. Into of sending up soaps, this barely watchable flick only wallows in their clichés.

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