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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

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows video review
2.  Andrew Hicks read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Steve Rhodes
½ star out of 4

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 possible.

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 Oliver.

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 money.

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

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