Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer

Tonight I saw The Lincoln Lawyer, starring Matthew McConaughey and Ryan Phillippe.

Mick Haller (McConaughey) is the type of defense lawyer the really, really bad guys call when they've done something really, really bad.

Lewis Roulet (Phillippe) is an attractive rich man whose mother foots the bill for his many toys and indiscretions. He's also been accused of a violent crime, so he hires Haller to ensure he won't serve jail time.

But is he guilty?

The audience is told fairly early on in the film what the answer to that is, and the result sends the maybe-not-so-slimy-after-all lawyer back to the drawing board to make his case, protect his family and mourn the loss of the innocent who get caught in the danger zone.

There are predictable twists and turns leading up to the final courtroom scenes, which seem to last the duration of a real trial.

Marisa Tomei is along for the ride as Maggie, a prosecutor and the most nurturing ex-wife anyone has ever seen. She takes care of drunken Mick nearly more than she does their young daughter and even goes for the occasional roll in the hay with him (even if he has to put up with a harsh, out-of-nowhere scolding the morning after).

All of the actors are well cast (though Tomei is somewhat wasted in low cleavage and excessive giggles) and it is especially pleasurable to watch Phillippe act menacing versus saintly (as most of his roles would dictate).

McConaughey was tailor-made for his part: he's slimy, sexy, beautifully frustrated and able to show off his gorgeous biceps at a moment's notice. This was especially evident as he exits the hospital after an incident in a wife beater, and carries his suit jacket alongside him.

There is an undeniable element of cheese that permeates the film, with its too-perfect dialog and shots that speed up a la Guy Ritchie at the drop of a hat.

The film is enjoyable, but that's really all it is.


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