Jury Doody

Despite many strong stars, this Grisham adaptation amounts to squat

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Based on the novel by John Grisham. Rated PG-13.

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By the end, everything's wrapped up in a neat package, and the protagonists' apparent amorality either explained or negated. Easter in the original book was ruthless enough to drug a blind man into a state of near-death, which was part of the fun; here, as played by Cusack, he's just another lovable rogue. Cusack's inherently charming enough that audiences will generally like him no matter what (recall his sensitive hit man in Grosse Pointe Blank), so it's too bad Fleder didn't have the guts to truly test that. By contrast, Hackman, playing it gleefully amoral, walks away with the film, for what that's worth, which is a video rental for fans of the actors involved. Yes, that's video, not DVD -- four bucks at Blockbuster is more than you want to be paying.

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