By Richard Winters
My Rating: 5 out of 10
4-Word Review: Searching for stolen paintings.
Successful district attorney Tom Logan (Robert Redford) suddenly finds himself in a big mess when defense lawyer Laura Kelly (Debra Winger) approaches him in regards to her quirky client Chelsea Deardon (Daryl Hannah). She feels that Chelsea is innocent of the charges against her and hopes to have them dropped before it goes to court. When Tom looks into the case he finds that there’s much more to it than initially assumed, which leads the three into danger, stolen paintings, murder and even a weird love triangle.
If you are expecting anything having to do with a legal drama then you’ll be highly disappointed as there is very little time spent in the actual courtroom. Instead you get what amounts to an ‘80s action flick with explosions, car chases and even shootouts as these two lawyers go through things that no other lawyer in the history of the universe has ever went through either before or after.
The main selling point, and the only thing that actually works, is the casting. Redford with his laid back style is terrific in this type of comedy and I enjoyed the way he tries to remain cool-under-pressure despite being exasperated with two very kooky females, who both have an interest in him, coming at him from both sides. Winger is fun too as a well-meaning young attorney who tries hard, but still seems a bit ‘rough-around-the-edges’. Hannah is also perfectly cast in a role that works well with her slightly flaky, free-spirited persona and she even has a scene where she performs a fire-laden performance art piece that she wrote herself.
The first hour has a nice balance between the interpersonal relationships of the three as well as an intriguing mystery, but the second half leans too much into the action and gets overblown. The supposedly ‘exciting’ finale only helped to get me bored and annoyed. It’s the chemistry of the three stars and the romantic entanglements that ensued between them that had me interested and are what made the plot unique. The film should’ve emphasized this area more and even played it up. Having things end up working out so conveniently between the three despite the fact that both women were for a time seemingly competing for Redford’s affections misses out on a lot of potential fireworks and amusingly comical scenarios.
Familiar faces pop up in minor roles including a young Christine Baranski as a fledgling member of Tom’s legal team as well as Terence Stamp in a role that ends up being so small and insignificant I was surprised he agreed to take it. The film also features Rod Stewart’s hit song ‘Love Touch’ that climbed to number 6 on the pop charts, but isn’t heard until the very end when it gets played over the closing credits.
My Rating: 5 out of 10
Released: June 20, 1986
Runtime: 1Hour 56Minutes
Director: Ivan Reitman
Available: VHS, DVD, Amazon Instant Video
Perhaps my second favourite Debra Winger film at the time, my first being Black Widow. Thank you for your review.