For a formulaic family film playing on the familiar ‘fish-out-of-water’ theme, I found Doc Hollywood to be rather enjoyable.
Michael J. Fox plays a successful doctor who’s on his way to Beverly Hills to be a plastic surgeon. On the way, he gets into a car accident, and finds himself stuck in a small bible-belt town full of hicks and country bumpkins. Because he accidently destroyed a farmer’s fence, Fox is forced to stay in the town and serve as the town doctor for a couple days.
A highlight of the film, for me, is the montage of Fox handling his new patients, who suffer from a variety of comical ailments, such as an absurdely large fishing hook stuck in the hand. In a funny, yet somewhat pregidous scene, a redneck couple asks Fox to read them a letter because they’re illiterate. Fox quickly becomes enthralled by the soap opera-type love affairs described in the letter. It’s quite funny.
In addition, there’s a boring love interest, which seems to be a requirement for every comedy made in the late 80’s /early 90’s. This time, it’s an independent, intelligent, free-thinking feminist, who swims in the nude and has no problem appearing naked in front of a complete stranger (yes, even though this is a pg-13 film, we see bare breasts). She’s a boring character.
Woody Harrelson is funny but underused as a country boy who is obsessed with selling insurance. I find it funny that he’s featured so prominently in the credits yet only appears in the film for a couple minutes. Maybe some of his scenes were cut. Fox is his usual, awkward self. If you love him in Back To The Future, then you’ll probably like him in Doc Hollywood.
Overall, this is a by-the-numbers comedy, but it’s still pretty funny and entertaining.