Doctor Bello (NR)

Action/Adventure 95 February 22, 2013
By Simon Abrams
The worst thing about Doctor Bello's tacky, pseudo-spiritual proceedings isn't how bad the soap opera melodramatics are (Tyler Perry would blush!), but rather how lazily sketched out its story of one man's road to self-actualization is. The film's writers left no cliché unused, and no major plot point undeveloped. Dr. Durant (Isaiah Washington) has exhausted his resources in a quest to cure a 13-year-old of his cancer. Durant turns to Dr. Bello (Jimmy Jean-Louis), a Nigerian practitioner of holistic medicine, who saves the little boy with a mysterious vial of liquid and an unhealthy dose of faith-based hoodoo. But when Bello succumbs to cancer, Dr. Durant must fly to Nigeria in search of a Lorenzo's Oil-style cure. The quest is paint-by-numbers nonsense, and Doctor Bello's creators demonstrate little facility for representing recognizably human emotions. For example, Washington's Durant is presumably sympathetic because he's soft-spoken and even-tempered, but that meekness just makes him a shy cypher. Even the scene where Durant takes a Nigerian healer's drugs and then wrestles with himself-- literally, with his own double-- on a Nigerian beach is weirdly rote. The inadvertent homoerotic subtext is momentarily diverting, but everything else in Doctor Bello is tired.
Tony Abulu Isaiah Washington, Vivica A. Fox, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Genevieve Nnaji, Stephanie Okereke-Linus, Bern Cohen, Victor Browne, Ebbe Bassey-Manczuk, Andrea Leigh, Evan Brinkman Tony Abulu Tony Abulu Black Ivory Communications