BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT: Doubtful
BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT (courtroom drama)
Cast: Jesse Metcalfe, Amber Tamblyn, Michael Douglas, Joel David Moore, Orlando Jones, Lawrence Beron and Sewell Whitney
Director: Peter Hyams
Time: 105 mins
Rating: * * (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: This is a remake of a 1956 film noir by German expressionist Fritz Lang. The narrative has been updated; the pace has been moved up a few notches, and there are some gratuitous action sequences thrown in to liven things up. Yet this is a soul-less and bland effort by Peter Hyams...
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Suspecting the District Attorney (Michael Douglas, above) of fabricating evidence, TV investigative reporter C.J. Nicholas (Jesse Metcalf of Desperate Housewives) frames himself as a murder suspect to catch the corrupt prosecutor in the act. Romantically involved with C.J. but unaware of his plan, assistant D.A. Ella Crystal (Amber Tamblyn, pictured below) gets caught between her boss's political ambitions and C.J's dangerous exposé.
HITS & MISSES: The main problem is casting Metcalf as the lead. While he is perfect as the gardener who is seduced by Eva Longoria's Gabby in Desperate Housewives, here he seems to be floundering and at sea. We can't root for him as we would for co-star Tamblyn who provides the movie with its innocent-damsel-turns-gutsy-heroine caper. At least she has screen presence and looks pretty.
And then there are Hyams' vain attempts at spicing up the movie with car chases and even an illogical scare-the-woman-by-circling the-car-around-her stunt. Yeah, many there are many gaping holes in the plot - and when back-up copies of a video-recording are lost, no one bothered to check the videocam!
THE LOWDOWN: Only if you are crazy about Amber Tamblyn.