Among the noisome offerings that the film studios typically send our way in August, "Doc Hollywood" should be one of the least offensive. This modest feature could have been a made-for-TV movie: It has a cast that includes several TV stars and there are more than a few jokes aimed at that medium's audience.
Michael J. Fox plays a young surgeon named Ben Stone. On his way to Los Angeles, where he plans to make his fame and fortune as a plastic surgeon to the stars, he ends up stranded in a little South Carolina town named Grady. Over the course of the film, he falls in love with one of the locals (the saucy and beautiful Julie Warner, who -- fortunately for the film -- is even shorter than the star) and with the town. After a brief, unsatisfying stint as a Hollywood doc, he decides to live happily ever after in the sticks.
This is tame stuff -- made all the more ordinary because Fox reprises the same good-hearted if materialistic yup he's been playing since Alex Keaton in "Family Ties" -- and about as unlikely as a transcontinental trip from Washington to L.A. that takes a traveler through South Carolina. But once the movie is under way -- it is nicely paced by director Michael Caton-Jones ("Scandal" and "Memphis Belle") -- "Doc Hollywood" begins to PTC exert some innocuous charms.