Let’s hope newlywed Ashley Judd chooses mates better in real life than in the movies.
She picked a guy who dumped her after she became pregnant in “Smoke,” she hooked up with a bank robber in “Heat,” her hubby was a two-timing psycho in “Double Jeopardy,” and her boyfriend left her just short of the altar in
“Someone Like You.” In her new “High Crimes,” her husband fibs about his name and, possibly, about butchering nine people.
Lawyer Judd is on the town with her spouse (Jim Caviezel) when the FBI descends, charging him with a murder supposedly committed when he was a Marine.
Judd’s plate is full, but she agrees to defend him, in between representing high-powered clients at her firm and single-handedly bringing back the cowl-neck sweater.
“High Crimes” is a lot like “Double Jeopardy,” but it has a better director and that is a big mistake. This sort of movie isn’t believable for a second.
It depends on too many coincidences and sudden reversals of fortune, and right from the beginning you’ll suspect that there would be no reason for
Judd, Caviezel and Morgan Freeman (as an attorney who helps Judd) to be interested in this formulaic script unless there was a big twist waiting at the end.
What can be fun about these movies, what was fun about “Double Jeopardy,” was the way it embraced its own goofy, pulpy stupidness.
Of course Judd’s best friend turned out to be in on it in “Double Jeopardy.” Of course she got trapped in a closed grave but somehow escaped.
Of course, when she finally confronted her heel of a husband, she did it in an evening gown, accessorized by do-me pumps and a pistol.
Those kinds of things also happen in “High Crimes,” but they’re not as entertaining.
Why? The talented Carl Franklin (“One True Thing,” “One False Move”) is a realist, with a great feel for character details and plot nuances, but
“High Crimes” needs realism like it needs a hole in Judd’s perfectly coiffed head.
This movie could have used a director who’d delight in the stupidity of the way Judd’s bruised cheek perfectly matches her bronze eye shadow, of Freeman’s insanely cavalier approach to his character’s alcoholism, of Judd teetering around lean-to shacks in Jimmy Choo heels.
But sober, serious-minded Franklin doesn’t respond to the ridiculousness of “High Crimes.” His mistake is actually trying to make it make sense.
SHOULD YOU GO? Nah. The real crime is taking an enjoyably dumb story and trying to smarten it up.