It's actually hard to point out precisely where the film went wrong. Yes, the script is terrible, yes, the acting is subpar and I suppose it can be summed up best by saying the directing was just plain bad. A good director can make a great movie from a bad script (see SPIDER-MAN). Here, director Cassavetes gives in to the shoddy script work and it seems as if there's just a point and shoot methodology going on. I think Cassavetes thought this film would be DOG DAY AFTERNOON with heart, but it has NONE of the traits that made that film a winner. Ultimately, the film falls victim to far too many movie cliches to be a success. It has a decent premise but doesn't have anyone aboard bringing it all together. Like another hospital tear-jerker PATCH ADAMS, this film tries too hard to manipulate the audience into feeling sympathy for the main characters instead of presenting them in an honest, endearing way that would have been far more successful. Maybe some day, as it repeats on the Lifetime network, it'll find its target audience...holding a wrinkled tissue...looking for a good cry.
If you want to enjoy all the features on this disc, you're gonna have to watch the film more than once. There's no way you could watch the film, use the Infinifilm and listen to the audio commentary all at once. So you may have to take another go round JOHN Q to listen to the commentary from Cassavetes, the producer, the writer, the cinematographer and the actress who plays Denzel's wife. You can see that they all made a huge impression on me because I can't even remember their names. The commentary isn't as bad as I thought it might be, considering the movie. It's not the best I've ever heard, but certainly not the worst either.
Next up are two featurettes, "Fighting for Care" and "Behind the Scenes of JOHN Q." "Fighting" is the longer of the two (just over a half-hour) and as the title suggests, discusses the problem at the core of the film - the lack of adequate healthcare for average Americans. It's a well put-together piece that says more in 30 minutes than the film doesn't say at all in almost two hours. The "Behind the Scenes" feature is exactly what it describes. About fifteen minutes of the traditional on-set interviews, "how'd they do it?" and other stuff. Nothing really new here.
As far as standard fare goes, this disc includes the usual: we've got deleted scenes, trailers, cast/crew biographies and production info. The deleted scenes include six in all and they're decently sized. Unlike some deleted scenes that can run a measly 30 seconds, these actually add up to something and aren't complete throwaways. Believe it or not, there's actually some decent stuff here, as where it's usually a wasteland. There are DVD-ROM features included on the disc as well, including the full script available for download or print and a link to the original website but not much else of substance.