Sidney Lumet directs Rebecca De Mornay, Don Johnson and Stephen Lang in this courtroom thriller where an ambitious attorney takes on the client from hell – a manipulative ladykiller with his eyes on her as his next doomed plaything.
Lumet slumming it, seemingly better than the Larry Cohen script he is working from…. And yet too stodgy to have any of the sleazy larks the high concept schlockmeister would have had with it if he just directed it himself. For an erotic thriller, there’s minimal sex. The most fruity aspect is underdeveloped – rich wives will seemingly do anything for Johnson’s gigilo once he ensnares them. How does that work? Is the dicking that good? Or do his insidious mind games turn them all into self destructive slaves? A better film would relish the prospect of exploring this subplot further… even have De Mornay come closer to becoming one of his near brainwashed Stepford Conquests. Yet after some malicious flirtation and half hearted evidence planting, we end up with a stunt finale that feels abrupt and inconclusive. De Mornay is miscast in the hero role… she is so much better as ice queen and life wrecker, seeing her on the other side of the equation feels wasteful. She visibly struggles. In one scene Johnson makes the world’s most aggressive sandwich, seemingly relishing the mayonnaise on his fingers more than the ladies he grapples with. Stephen Lang is stuck in the nagging boyfriend role, sporting a Seventies porn moustache and perm that must have some implied significance that has long since lost its power. Not even workable as throwaway airport novel pulp. Can’t believe I’ve somehow chosen to watch this twice in my movie watching life!
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