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By Merle Bertrand | February 28, 2000

Everyone has heard that laughter is supposed to be the best medicine. I guess, then, that means that grim sardonic grins must be the store brand medicine. There are no outright guffaws in this gallows humor-filled film by Glenn Gaylord, but there are smirks aplenty.
A slightly panicked AIDS patient (Nic Arnzen) is having trouble breathing and has misplaced his medication. When he calls his local Health Service Organization for help, he gets an oblivious run-around from the well-meaning but bubble-headed receptionist (Andrea LaBella), who reflexively insists on shuttling him from one double speaking administrative department to another. It’s easy to chuckle at such bureaucratic fumblings when talking about, say, the Post Office, but it’s a little more frustrating when it concerns an organization that deals in life or death situations. Which, of course, is the entire point of “Lost Cause.” If the disease doesn’t get you, Gaylord seems to be saying, you’re a lost cause anyway because you’ll have to deal with such a tangled bureaucracy. Not exactly a rollicking good time, the nonetheless surprisingly entertaining “Lost Cause” manages to get its bleak point across in a matter with which anyone who’s spent three hours in a doctor’s office waiting room for a useless five minute appointment can identify.

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