Robin Williams does an good job of picking his serious movies. This one allows a little more free-wheeling improv than Awakenings did.
The movie is about a man who suffered suicidal depression and committed himself to a mental institution. There, he uses his humor to help one of his fellow patients and learns that he's good at it and that he enjoys it. So he goes to medical school to become a doctor.
There, he almost immediately butts heads with his dean and the established style of medical teaching. The school doesn't let students see patients until the third year. Williams wants to short-circuit the system and start treating patients immediately. So he sneaks into the hospital and starts spreading his humor around. They show the nurses liking him and what he does. His dean is pissed, but some of the other doctors appreciate what he's accomplishing. Apparently he's a genius, and some of his classmates are jealous that he doesn't appear to study and they try to sabotage him.
The movie was maybe a bit too one-sided. It spends a lot of time showing him raising patients spirits. But it never shows his actions having any consequences with his patients. It does show him with a patient as he dies. And there is the movie's big shocker scene. Those are the tear-jerker portions of the movie. But it suffers a bit from the obvious staging several of Williams' comedy bits.
On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Matinee with Popcorn and Drinks. A pretty good serious Robin Williams movie.
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