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The Juror

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Juror

Starring: Demi Moore, Alec Baldwin
Director: Brian Gibson
Rated: R
RunTime: 118 Minutes
Release Date: February 1996
Genres: Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Heche, James Gandolfini, Lindsay Crouse, Tony LoBianco, Michael Constantine, Matt Craven

Review by Andrew Hicks
2 stars out of 4

I always knew somewhere, somehow Alec Baldwin and Demi Moore would star in a movie together. Think about it -- they're both dark-haired, husky-voiced hunks who can't act very well. THE JUROR is the movie that proves when you put two people of that calibur next to one another trying to pull off serious acting, the result will be mostly laughable.

Demi plays a single parent (mother of androgynous "3rd Rock From the Sun" teen Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is called up for jury duty in a Mafia murder case. The jury selection scene at the beginning where Demi admits she never follows the news and has no idea what's going on in the world seems almost autobiographical. I have a hunch she's used the phrase "Someone needs to vote Reagan out of office" at least once in the past year.

No sooner does the trial begin than a handsome gentleman shows up to buy some of Demi's sculptures. (If they're anything like her pottery in GHOST, I'm sure they'd sell out instantly... That's sarcasm.) It's Alec, of course, and after he charms her and gets into her house, he reveals his true intentions. He's got the house bugged and he'll hurt the kid if he has to unless he hears those two magic words -- not guilty.

Apparently, Demi is the only juror targeted by Alec for extortion. He reveals that he "picked" her to convert the other jurors to a not guilty verdit because of her magic gift of debate and persuasion... and a pair of knockers that won't quit. The first hour of THE JUROR is divided between Demi being inexplicably bitchy to her kid and slutty best friend and shots of Baldwin listening in on and taking pictures of her. Predictably, it turns into a fatal attraction kind of obsession, with Alec going above and beyond the Mafia call of duty to keep Demi in her place.

She actually does get them all to acquit the man on trial, but that's just the first half of the movie. Baldwin still has to go even more over the top in his portrayal of a man so obsessive he kills four people after the trial and keeps stalking Demi after she's sent her son off to Guatemala for safe-keeping. In between, there are more than a few scenes of the two together, sending the Overacting Meter off the chart with their inadvertently hilarious exchanges.

THE JUROR also sets off the Predictability and Boring Expository Information Meters in more than one location. I'm going to have to sentence this one to life in the Jail of Mediocrity because it's probably the worst court trial movie since the gay porn orgy HUNG JURY, starring "Twelve Horny Men."

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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