Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bad Movie Day: McConaughey's "Michael Clayton"

As they say at my alma mater, wow.  This is usually said before tackling an offensive comment.  Anyway, where to begin with The Lincoln Lawyer.  Spoiler alert: to my shame, I couldn't help but think of Lebowski.  Seriously.  For a few reasons.  First of all, McC takes on a case that already has legally capable hands to handle it in the first place, and second, because that biker at the end sounded an awful lot like The Stranger.  He should've said "You take 'er easy there, Dude."  For several reasons.
Movies like this tend to make one's mind wander and think about what other movies it's too much like.  Criminal Law also comes to mind... which may be unfair to Criminal Law.  McConaughey himself seemed to be channeling his character from A Time to Kill, if only in terms of accent.  To be fair, the courtroom scenes held my interest.
The plot.  We get the obligatory introductory episode... I can't remember what it was now.  Oh, right.  McC goes to court and says he wants a delay in a certain trial to wait for a "Mr. Green" as a witness.  Now I get it!  Tee hee hee...  There's a couple moments like that in the film, but they quickly pass.  Then, we get the big case.  A rich playboy is in trouble.  And what American film these days wouldn't be complete without a member of the Job Creators present?  Why are they always portrayed so poorly?  In this case, it's Ryan Phillippe, and he's accused of beating a woman nearly to death.  I hate to say it, but the victim's wounds didn't match the enormity of the sentence he was looking at.  Let's leave aside his financial status for now.  The film tries to deal with it a little, actually!  Kewl!
Needless to say, in keeping with the current state of film plots these days, the plot's a little more complicated than it might first appear, come to find out.  It just zig-zags all over the place, but McC and his black driver try to keep the storm as calm as possible.
There's other characters as well.  William H. Macy plays a private investigator who works for McConaughey, but he can't hide his haggard face behind his long blond locks.  Josh Lucas plays the anti-McConaughey and the prosecuting attorney, but frankly Lucas looks like he's a couple years away from looking like McConaughey if he can't handle the pressure of his gig.  Marisa Tomei is the rather agreeable ex-wife, and she and Matthew continually race to the bottom of the glass throughout the movie.  Don't they see that they deserve each other?  Phillippe seems to be channeling pre-rehab Robert Downey Jr.
But for me, and I'm sure Maxim Magazine will agree with me on this, the tone of the movie is set by that one douchebag witness who's a little too proud of himself for having used the services of a prostitute.  If you see his performance, I'm sure we can all agree that we should act as well on the stand as that guy.  What The Shawshank Redemption was to idealizing prison life, this guy is to being on the witness stand.  I can't seem to pick him out of the IMDb cast list, and frankly, I think I've spent too much time trying.
As for why McC's called "The Lincoln Lawyer" beyond the surface reasons, well... you'll just have to wait for the TV series!  I think McC's probably too proud to do a TV series at this stage of his career, but you never know.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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