I have a theory that some actors can not read. As proof of this I
present Demi Moore in THE JUROR. If she had been able to read, surely
she would have read the script and seen that it had bomb written on
every page. There was probably a Surgeon General's warning on the
cover about taking this job being hazardous to an actor's wealth.
As further proof of my theory, there was her recent disastrous
choice of doing THE SCARLET LETTER. When she has good material to work
with as she did in GHOST and A FEW GOOD MEN, her incredible talents
radiate so it must be her inability to read that is causing her to make
such poor decisions about which projects to undertake.
The plot of THE JUROR is that Annie Laird (Demi Moore) is on a
jury trying a big time Mafia boss, Louie Boffano (Tony Lo Bianco), for
murder. Boffano gets The Teacher (Alec Baldwin) to threaten juror
Laird to not only vote not guilty in an open and shut case, the police
even have a tape of Boffano talking about the murder, but to convince
the rest of the jury to vote not guilty as well. The show is filled
with major implausibilities and improbabilities. In an unbelievable
show, the ending manages to be even worse. I did not think this
Annie Laird is an avant-garde artist who makes boxes people stick
their hands in to get an artistic tactical feel. Sure. After the
trial begins, a creepy stranger called The Teacher comes with her to
her remote cabin in the woods to see her art. This is a set up for her
to be able to use lines like, "would you like to feel another one."
You must check your brains at the lobby or you will never be able to
buy a minute of this preposterous script. When The Teacher is
threatening to kill her son Oliver (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), she is
consoled by The Teacher's partner in crime, Eddie (James Gandolfini),
"Hey, I got a kid too. I know what you're going through."
The cliched hyper-spooky music by James Newton Howard has to be
the most ludicrous of the year. The cinematography by Jamie Anderson
is of the ugly, dark and dreary school with various shades of dirty
blues and grays.
I was very sad to see one of my favorite actresses, Lindsay Crouse
getting a terrible part as Prosecutor Tallow. She has to utter absurd
lines as her advice to Laird on the relative danger of the mob, "They
always threaten, but they don't do squat." On the other hand, there
are almost no good parts in this film. Most of the film is an
embarrassment as when they show Oliver, aged 12, playing pornographic
video games for no reason. It is completely out of character for
Even given the low quality of the script by Ted Tally based on a
novel by George Dawes Green, the overacting by Moore and Baldwin
transforms from merely awful into a colossal disaster. Too bad
director Brian Gibson didn't pay more attention to the dailies and just
abandon the project before it was completed and save the backers some
Is there anything good in this turkey? Well, there are a few very
minor actors in almost trivial roles that are good. My favorite is
Jack Gilpin (SOMETHING WILD and BARCELONA) playing a juror who is tired
of deliberating and ready to go home regardless, saying, "These people
are scum, but I don't care anymore."
THE JUROR runs forever at 1:58. It is rated R for bad language,
sex, brief nudity, and violence. It would probably be okay for most
teenagers, but I hope none of them waste their time seeing it. I hated
the show, and I feel certain you will too. I am giving it 1/2 of a *
only because I have seen worse. At least the show is more utterly
ridiculous than painfully unbearable.
Copyright © 1996 Steve Rhodes