Blu-ray Review: Young Doctors in Love

Following the template set by Airplane! just a couple of years before, and hoping to cash in on the topical success of General Hospital, 1982 saw the release of Young Doctors in Love, the first feature directed by Gary Marshall, who up until than had worked largely in television, involved in the creation of Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Mork & Mindy among others. It made perfect sense for Marshall to take over the director’s chair for Young Doctors, his shows were on ABC, and this film was the first project from the new arm of the network designed to create hits for the cinema. While ABC Studios never became a power player in theatrical films, the modest box office success of Young Doctors in Love launched  Gary Marshall as a director. Oh, and this was also an early effort for uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

A hospital/soap opera parody, Young Doctors in Love follows a new group of interns at City Hospital, where the unethical surgeon Dr. Prang (Dabney Coleman) rules with an iron fist. The brightest of the interns is Simon August (Michael McKean, Spinal Tap) whose stated goal is to become the greatest surgeon in the history of medicine. Simon’s smarts, arrogance, and well-to-do upbringing alienates his colleagues, but he still manages to attract Dr. Stephanie Brody (Sean Young), but their romance might be doomed when she just might have a terrible disease. The other romance of sorts comes courtesy of Ted McGinley (as you guessed it, an intern) and a pre-Wings Crystal Bernard who both co-starring on Happy Days when Young Doctors in Love was released.

All the action takes place inside the hospital, and the plot is limited. Sight gags, such as a nurse who breezes by on her skateboard to dispense medication, and goldfish in the intravenous equipment are meant to provide the laughs. Some of the gags are funny–the late, great Taylor Negron who plays Dr. Phil Burns, a sleepwalking intern who needs who needs amphetamines just to get through the day is particularly memorable. Lucky for Burns, he has the charisma to get what he needs from straight-laced Nurse Sprockett (Pamela Reed). Unfortunately, many of the jokes are tired, and unfunny.

For a mediocre film, the star power on display here is impressive. Hector Elizondo (who would end up appearing in every film Gary Marshall directed), plays a foul-mouthed mobster who appears in drag throughout the film so as not to attract the attention of hitman looking for him. Meanwhile, Elizondo’s onscreen father, Tito Vandis (The Exorcist) is stocked by an incompetent mob assassin played by Seinfeld’s Michael Richards.

Unfortunately, this all sounds much funnier than it really is.

Fans of General Hospital (and a couple of others), circa 1982, will likely get a kick out of all the celebrity cameos. Some are still best known for their work on soap operas, others moved on to bigger things: Richard Dean Anderson, Jamie Lyn Bauer, John Bernadino, Michael Damian, Stuart Damon, Steven Ford, Susan Lucci, Emily McLaughlin, Demi Moore, Chris Robinson, King Shriner,  Janine Turner, and Jacklyn Zeman, among others.

Though meant to be a hospital/soap parody, the humor in Young Doctors in Love was more a cross between the film version of MASH and Airplane! given the constant undercutting of authority, and never-ending stream of verbal and visual jokes. While Young Doctors in Love doesn’t come close to the greatness achieved in the earlier films, for fans of parody it’s worth a look.

Presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, this is a nice 1080p transfer. There are only a few signs of print damage throughout. Colors are rather dull, but given the films age, that’s not surprising.

The DTS-MA 2.0 Stereo mix is strictly utilitarian, which is fine for this dialogue heavy film. Dialogue is clean, clear, and concise throughout. The limited effects sound fine.

English SDH subtitles are included.

The following extras are available:

  • Audio Commentary by Actor/Filmmaker Pat Healy and Film Curator Jim Healy.
  • Reversible Blu-ray Art.
  • Trailer Gallery.

Movie title: Young Doctors in Love (1982)

Director(s): Garry Marshall

Actor(s): Sean Young , Michael McKean , Kyle T. Heffner , Rick Overton , Crystal Bernard , Ted McGinley

Genre: Comedy

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