103. This Is Where I Leave You: Even the casting doesn’t work. If Jane Fonda as the mother cheated on her husband regularly, she still couldn’t produce Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Corey Stoll and Adam Driver. They don’t look like they’re from the same species, much less the same gene pool.
104. A Walk Among The Tombstones: Liam Neeson doesn’t kill everyone, but we enjoyed its gritty grimness. Cousin Matthew from Downton Abbey plays a grieving drug trafficker.
105. The Longest Week: A Spot the Influences quiz. Wes Anderson! Woody Allen! Whit Stillman! Etcetera!
106. Inbetweeners 2: A turd joke too far.
The Judge never met a subplot it didn’t like. Big-city lawyer returns to the small town he grew up in, check. Man with failing marriage reconnects with high school sweetheart, check. Slick defense attorney must defend his father, a stickler for the law, on the charge of murder, check. Successful brother spends time with his less successful brothers, including the sweet mentally-challenged one, check. There’s even a hurricane to mirror the characters’ inner tumult.
All this clutter can’t cover up the fact that the legal drama at the center of The Judge isn’t that compelling. A pity because it’s been a while since we’ve seen Robert Downey, Jr. step out of his Tony Stark persona. Though he doesn’t step that far because his character also had the wild youth and brushes with the law. And when we find out why the father and son don’t get along, we want to yell, “Everyone has father issues, deal with it!”
Director David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) piles on the sentimental cliches—we heard people sniffling in the audience, though our own eyeballs remained dry and well-exercised from constant rolling. The excellent cast—RDJ, Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Vince D’Onofrio—deserves a better movie.
Rating: Potentially useful as emotional blackmail to get Downey to do Iron Man 4.
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Tearjerker story: Remember the year of the competing asteroid-on-collision-course-with-earth movies? Some comic book geeks we know went to see Deep Impact. During the scene where Tea Leoni and her father Maximilian Schell embrace just before the tidal wave hits them, the comic book geeks were all weeping. When the lights came on, they looked at each other and sobbed, “Pare, ang ganda ng special effects.”