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Review: White Coats-Intern Academy (2004)

Director: Dave Thomas | 90 minutes | comedy | Actors: Oldring, Pat Kelly, Viv Leacock, Ingrid Kavelaars, Jane McLean, Christine Chatelain, Lynda Boyd, Carly Pope, Dave Foley, Dave Thomas, Dan Aykroyd, Maury Chaykin, Matt Frewer, Saul Rubinek, Sue Huff, Judie Holm, Tom Pickett, Pamela Parker, Tracy Thomas, Christopher Moore, Ron Pederson, Andrew Brown, Donovan Workun,

Series and films that take place on the hospital floor have been appealing to the viewer’s imagination for some time now: “ER”, “St. Elsewhere ”,“ Private Practice ”,“ Mercy ”,“ Trauma ”,“ Grey’s Anatomy ”and variants such as“ Scrubs ”and“ Green Wing ”attract a large audience. Written and directed by Canadian comedian and actor Dave Thomas, ‘White Coats’ (or ‘Intern Academy’ as the original title goes) can be seen as a mix of “Scrubs” and “ER”: Men in white coats who laugh like best prescribe medicine.

“White Coats” is about a group of young interns who are taking their first steps towards a career as a professional doctor in the worst hospital, St. Albert’s. The clumsy, shy and unworldly Mike Bonnert ( Oldring), the woman crazy Dale Dodd (Pat Kelly), the street-wise joker Marlon Thomas (Viv Leacock), the ambitious Mira Towers (Ingrid Kavelaars) who wants to follow in the footsteps of her admired heart surgeon Dr. Denton Whiteside (played by veteran comedian Dave Foley), the promising, efficient, and serious Christine Lee (Jane McLean) and dorky rascal Mitzi Cole (Christine Chatelain), who -to pay for her medical studies- as a stripper. The young assistants are taken by the hand by the very cynical and strict Dr. Omar Olson (Dave Thomas). He is not lenient in his judgment and wonders how many members of the group will actually end up being classified as doctors.

The trainee doctors are guided through many strange cases in the practice (including a doll, Malibu Mindy, sticking out of a man’s rectum). Due to various damages and even more scandals (a hilarious bad news conversation by Mike) the assistants are getting wiser and just when Mike, Dale and Marlon are threatened with suspension (after an organ fight) the “rookies” are seriously tested. They passed this coup de force with flying colors, even Dr. Olson comes with compliments. In between, we become part of a few budding loves between the nursing staff and watch another veteran comedian, Dan Aykroyd, play the role of the corrupt Dr. Cyrill Kipp, financially leading the clinic to the abyss with “black” hand.

“White Coats” is not a laugh out loud film. It’s a mild satire with just a few jokes that are over the top. Fortunately, everything remains reasonably tidy and it does not become too flat. A nice looking away movie with some hilarious scenes. The actor’s cast combines old with new comedic talents. Not too stilted, just fun. Should be possible, right?

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