Young Doctors in Love (1982) Blu-ray Review: Do Not Resuscitate

While the talent may have been fresh, it's clear no one in Garry Marshall's soap opera spoof scrubbed up first.
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One might imagine a comedy starring the likes of Michael McKean, Sean Young, Harry Dean Stanton, Patrick Macnee, Dabney Coleman, Ted McGinley, Taylor Negron, Pamela Reed, Saul Rubinek, Michael Richards, Hector Elizondo, Crystal Bernard, and Richard Dean Anderson would be a laugh-a-minute masterpiece. And while I'm sure such a movie exists in an alternate universe somewhere, it has yet to emerge in our reality. One of the first spoofs produced in the wake turbulence of Airplane!, 1982's Young Doctors in Love almost plays like a dirtier, dumber version of Scrubs ‒ right down to being produced by ABC (it was one of their few theatrical endeavors) and having a McGinley in the cast.

Alas, even that lamentable final season of Scrubs was much funnier than this.

An early effort from untouchable Hollywood mega-blockbuster producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Garry Marshall, the hospital/soap opera parody follows a group of young medical interns during their first year at a large city hospital, where an unscrupulous Dabney Coleman rules with an iron fist. At the head of the class is A Mighty Wind star and Spinal Tap frontman Michael McKean, who plays an ignorantly arrogant doctor from a well-to-do background with remarkable near-House abilities. While he alienates everyone else at work due to his unknowingly snobby behavior, he still manages to attract small town girl Sean Young, whose casting here can only be due to the recent commercial failure of Blade Runner.

But theirs isn't the only bustling romance to sigh over in this boring dud: we also get to see Married with Children's Ted McGinley woo underage prostitute Crystal Bernard; while the late great Taylor Negron ‒ whose very presence is one of the film's true highlights as a sleepwalking intern who needs uppers to make it through the day ‒ uses his charisma on stuffy nurse Pamela Reed to get them. And then there's the awkward romance of monk-turned-actor Patrick Collins and foul-mouthed mobster Hector Elizondo, the latter of whom appears in drag throughout the movie so as not to attract the attention of the hitmen looking for him. Meanwhile, Elizondo's onscreen father, Titos Vandis, is stalked by incompetent mob assassin Michael Richards.

Trust me, it sounds funnier than it really is.

Replete with an arsenal of appallingly stupid raunchy jokes, Young Doctors in Love occasionally perks up with certain supporting characters and cameos. First and foremost is the late Harry Dean Stanton, who plays a drunken Schlitz-swilling pathologist with Saul Rubinek as his flunky assistant. Patrick Macnee pops up here and there, too. There's also a scene-stealing Gary Friedman, who receives some darn prominent billing just so the filmmakers could make him the butt of midget jokes, an early screen appearance by comedian Rick Overton (who, sadly, doesn't get much to do), and a number of cameos from prominent soap opera stars of the day, including Susan Lucci, Jamie Lyn Bauer, and John Beradino.

Speaking of cameos, there's a brief glimpse of a pre-fame Demi Moore in there, too. Ed Begley Jr., Richard Dean Anderson (as a drug dealer), and the busty talents of beauties Monique Gabrielle and Kimberly McArthur can also be seen. (KISS singer Paul Stanley also shot a cameo, but his scene was left on the cutting room floor.) But, big bouncing breasts or not, Garry Marshall's Young Doctors in Love still flatlines throughout most of the 96-minute runtime (seriously, it took me nearly five hours to make it all the way through the goddamn thing, as I frequently had to find something more productive to do), livening up for a climactic operation where most of the film's cast gets together to save the life of one of their own.

For better or worse, Young Doctors in Love has returned to home video ‒ albeit this time in High-Definition ‒ from Kino Lorber, after having been out of print for years. Presented in a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC codec preserving the original theatrical 1.85:1 aspect ratio, I must confess Marshall's tepid little comedic abortion looks quite nice here. It isn't the cleanest print ever pressed to disc, and even the less-attentive viewers (and it's easy to not pay close attention to this one) will spot the occasional fleck of debris. Aurally, the release sports a DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo mix, which is also pretty durn good. Optional English (SDH) subtitles are included, just in case you find yourself saying, "Wait, did they really just say that?" regularly like I did.

Special features for this Kino Lorber release include an audio commentary by actor/filmmaker Pat Healy and film curator Jim Healy, none of whom had anything to do with the making of Young Doctors in Love. But then, the four bonus trailers have nothing to do with the feature film, either. Keeping in tune with the bad '80s comedy niche, Kino's attached previews consist of Moving Violations (1985), Up the Creek (1984), Porky's II: The Next Day (1983), and Porky's Revenge (1985).

In addition to this new Blu-ray release, Kino Lorber is also re-issuing Young Doctors in Love to DVD. Established fans of the film will no doubt revel over this new HD transfer, though people new to the title may want to consult their physician first prior to viewing, as the stagnant and sterile atmosphere of Young Doctors in Love may result in unwanted side-effects such as boredom, apathy, and death. And that is a true pity, since a cast like this could have given us something much greater as opposed to a dire comedy that I can only ultimately declare as being "Dead On Arrival."

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