Posted: 10/01/2011


The Heart Specialist

by Elaine Hegwood Bowen

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The Heart Specialist is a romantic comedy that had the medical specialist teaching the final year resident a thing or two about medicine and a dozen things about life, love and emotions. Brian White plays Ray, who is a pretty-boy womanizer who has put his feelings off so much that he can’t even feel for the patients under his charge. He is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, who wants to be an ophthalmologist, a desire that’s not lost on Dr. Z, since he says that way Ray doesn’t have to become attached to the whole patient—he just has to worry about eyes. Ray has traveled to Florida to hunt down an ex-girlfriend, played by singer Mya, who has decided she is sick of his non-committal ways.

Dr. Z. (Sidney Zachary) is surprisingly played by Wood Harris, who normally plays the tough guy, as in The Wire. He is great in this part, where he’s juggling medical duties as one of the sharpest doctors at the South Florida-based Memorial Hospital and his comedy job. He is also writing a book, with help from his cute, trusty assistant Donna, played by Zoe Saldana. Along with professional duties, Dr. Z. sets out to help Ray become a better doctor and a better man, by teaching him that he doesn’t have to sleep with every woman he meets, because in the end, he’s still alone.

The Heart Specialist is a funny indie film with a great roster of actors, including veteran actress Marla Gibbs, in a role where she plays a sexy, senior patient, who is looking for a little action on the side, even though she’s married to a much younger man, played by Nephew Tommy from the Steve Harvey radio show. Other cast members include another veteran actress Jasmine Guy; veteran actor Ed Asner; the fine hunk of a man Leon Robinson, commonly known as Leon; Method Man; Scott Paulin; Kenneth Choi and Terrence J.

The Heart Specialist has been described as, “Smart, sophisticated and hilarious….filled with humor and heart….a new comedic voice in African-American film…” Jeff Craig, 60 Second Review.

The movie kept me laughing, until it’s revealed that Dr. Z has a medical issue of his own. I had grown to like his character, and this revelation puts a damper on everything.But the film ends on both low and high notes. The Heart Specialist could bring to mind the television series Scrubs or Private Practice, but with much more flavor.

The Heart Specialist is available on Blu-ray and DVD on October 4 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Making its debut at the Boston Film Festival (“Audience Award” winner) and the Urban World Film Festival (“Best Film” winner), The Heart Specialist tickles the funny bone as it resuscitates the love lives of a sassy cast of characters.

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Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago who also serves as a news editor with

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