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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Young Doctors in Love (Blu-ray)
Young Doctors in Love (Blu-ray)
Kino // R // October 31, 2017 // Region A
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Tyler Foster | posted November 15, 2017 | E-mail the Author
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At a glance, Young Doctors in Love has an impressive pedigree. In front of the camera, there's Sean Young, Michael McKean, Dabney Coleman, Taylor Negron, Pamela Reed, Ted McGinley, Hector Elizondo, Saul Rubinek, Michael Richards, and Harry Dean Stanton. Behind the camera, there's Garry Marshall, making his feature directing debut. Based on that laundry list of talent, Doctors seems to have a mild reputation as a cult classic. Seen today on Kino Lorber's new Blu-ray, however, that parade of famous faces is probably the only reason to watch this limply-executed farce.

The film is set at the generic City Hospital, where a new batch of medical students have arrived with dreams of becoming licensed professionals. Armed with book knowledge, the students gear up for their first experience trying to diagnose and treat live patients, while fielding tests from the old guard on their specialties. At the same time, City Hospital is packed with oddballs and weirdos that make a chaotic environment even more unruly: an aging gangster, Sal Bonafetti (Titos Vandis) is brought in by his son Angelo, posing as Angela (Elizondo); a perpetually exhausted student (Negron) seduces a nurse (Reed) to get at the uppers he needs to stay awake; another student (Rick Overton) becomes infatuated with Angela; and Dr. Stephanie Brody (Young) and Dr. Simon August (McKean) square off in a battle of opposing philosophies and approaches that might end up saving Dr. Brody's life.

The basic problem with Young Doctors in Love is a complete and total lack of tonal stability. The film simultaneously feels modeled after the exaggerated but still relatively grounded Caddyshack, and the anything-goes visual non-sequitur style of Airplane!. It's hard to imagine a pairing this incongruous being executed well, but Marshall doesn't even seem to try, casually transitioning between, for example, a gag where an electric bed folds up into the wall and squishes its patient, and a scene where the audience is meant to become emotionally invested in Brody and August's romantic relationship. In a comedy, the ground rules constitute the setup and context for the movie's punchlines. Without them, Doctors never even gets its footing to begin with, content to whiplash the audience back and forth between the two styles in a way that renders both of them ineffective.

Of course, even setting aside tone, Young Doctors in Love also just isn't very funny anyway. Yes, the bumbling hitman (Richards) who appears to try and whack Sal is thwarted when the nursing staff becomes convinced he's a patient and perform a bunch of unnecessary procedures on him. There are recurring intercom gags (sample gem: "Dr. Pepper, please report to the diabetes ward"), a device done better on Rob Corddry's much funnier "Childrens Hospital" TV series years later. At the film's lowest point, there is an unusually lengthy scene where Stanton's Dr. Ludwig and Dr. August face off over the idea of drinking a patient's urine in order to check for diseases. At the film's laziest point, a heart monitor during the finale provides a repeated cut-away for various sound-effects gags. There are also various gags involving Dr. Milton Chamberlain (Gary Friedkin), who is a little person, that feel mildly cruel, and the Elizondo thread probably wouldn't fly today either.

Given the cast is only as good as the material placed in front of them, nobody fares particularly well in Doctors. Due to the nature of his arrogant, know-it-all character, McKean comes off as smarmy for too long to really root for him. Of course, some of the smarminess is intentional, but the way his thread positions him as smarter and more rational than Dr. Brody is frustrating -- it would work better for both characters if she were the one curing him, while simultaneously teaching him he doesn't know everything. Young is game and enthusiastic as Brody, but her character doesn't really have anywhere to go -- her big conflict is that she's afflicted with a mystery condition that causes her to faint. In a film that fully embraced its Airplane!-style zaniness, that simplicity might've worked, but it becomes a problem when the film tries to position the romance as sincere. Stanton is probably the only person who comes out of the film looking all right, and even that's by comparison. Young Doctors is less of a first look at what's to come for its roster of talent and more a cautionary tale that everyone starts out suffering through some terminal projects.

The Blu-ray
Kino Lorber offers Young Doctors in Love on Blu-ray as a single disc release which features a reversible cover, offering two similar poster designs. The "default" features two doctors making out on the beach, From Here to Eternity style while still wearing their surgical masks; the reverse side of the sleeve there is another design that is basically the same but features a different photo of doctors with surgical masks kissing over an illustrated set of legs. The Blu-ray comes in a Viva Elite case and there is a booklet inside advertising other Kino Lorber releases.

The Video and Audio
Aside from persistent minor print damage, the 1.78:1 1080p AVC Blu-ray transfer provided to Kino Lorber from 20th Century Fox is solid. Grain is minimized but not completely eliminated, detail is solid and appreciably "high def," and colors appear only a touch faded. A DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 soundtrack is mostly dialogue with some minor surround activity for some of the hospital's more crowded environments. Otherwise, pretty straightforward. English captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing are also included.

The Extras
There is only one bonus feature: an audio commentary by film curator Jim Healy and his brother, actor Pat Healy, who both claim to be fans of Young Doctors in Love. Although their commentary is built around the movie itself, they also provide plenty of background about the summer of 1982 and other films that were in theaters, as well as history on the cast and crew members, and details about the specific programs and ideas the movie was satirizing. This is a functional track more than a great track, but it's good for what it's going for.

I admit it: I am not a fan of the movie Caddyshack to begin with, so the last thing that I want is a bad rip-off of Caddyshack that also spends half its time being a bad rip-off of Airplane!. Young Doctors in Love may be a cult favorite for some people, but I can't prescribe it to anyone else. Kino Lorber's Blu-ray is adequate. Skip it.

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