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Double Jeopardy

Review by Jason Morrison

If you decide to go see Double Jeopardy any time soon, bring some eye drops. Right now I wish I did, because I rolled my eyes through all 105 minutes.

The movie, starring Tommy Lee Jones as parole officer Travis Lehman and Ashley Judd as the falsely convicted Libby Parsons, parolee, has been called a copy of The Fugitive. It is not. Though Jones again plays a law enforcement official in charge of catching someone he comes to believe is innocent, this movie is more aptly compared to every sing other movie ever made. Can you think of a movie cliché? Chances are it will be in here.

Libby has one of those "it seems perfect, if only he enjoyed sailing" marriages. She loves her easily-distracted son Matty with all her heart and is really smiley. Just as we find out her husband Nick (Bruce Greenwood) is in some sort of vague financial trouble, he surprises her by buying the prettiest boat on Lake Whatever or Whatever Harbor or something.

So they go on a romantic trip. They're really happy. Then, Libby wakes up in the middle of the night without Nick next to her. She covered in blood. There's blood all over. Even on the table where they have a bunch of fruit! She climbs up to the deck, and sees blood leading to the edge-and the rail! She sees a knife, picks it up, and-surprise! The Coast Guard was hiding 10 feet from her this whole time. Sure looks bad for her, right?

Not at first. They drag the ocean for a body, but don't find it. She's sad, and still easily distracted, but so long as she can sit on the beach she'll make it through. But wait-suddenly she's arrested! It was a murder! Suddenly she's convicted! Apparently she stood to get $2 million from his life insurance. That seems to be the only evidence, though. There's even a tape of his call to the Coast Guard, in which he says he's been stabbed but fails to mention his wife did it. But who needs evidence?

So she's in jail, and is befriended by two tough inmates with hearts of gold. The woman taking care of her son disappears, and Libby tracks her down, only to hear her husband's voice on the phone! The plot thickens! One of the tough inmates tells her no to try an appeal-what she should do is wait out her six years, get paroled, and then kill her now-alive husband. Since she was already convicted for it, they can't get her for killing her husband for real this time. It would be-wait for it-

Double Jeopardy!

Daily Double!

So Libby says sure why not and we see a montage intended to let us know that she's tougher in jail. I.e. she runs in the rain.

She gets paroled, and we finally meet Lehman. He's gruff, but with a heart of gold. She tries to track down her son, leads police on a climactic chase, and when he picks her up she escapes by ramming his car off the ferry boat. More stuff happens. The end.

I don't even need to tell you the end, do I? The script and acting is very much TBS made-for-TV movie quality-Judd, who is very pretty, is also completely fake. She sobs and yells a lot, but not once does it seem genuine. Not that she had anything to work with, mind you. I can just hear the director now:

"Ashley, you're as happy as you can be. Happier. No, gin wider. WIDER. Just a little happier."

"Okay Ashley, now it's time to be sad. Sadder. The saddest. Sadder than sad! Now sob-no, sadder!"

Jones, who I usually like, is kind of just there. By now he's the world's expert in acting-like-you're-a-law-enforcement-official-chasing-someone-you-begin-to-believe-is-innocent. It really seems like someone just threw ideas into a hat and pulled them out one at a time to write this movie. On one of those little slips of paper was "Tommy Lee Jones chases someone who's actually innocent." The look on his face as he delivered one or two of the lines they gave him almost made it seem like the movie was this big in-joke between him and the audience, and that he was putting the filmmakers on the whole time.

Since I've already mentioned direction, let me just say I don't know what Bruce Beresford was thinking either. There were more than a few camera tricks-weird stuff-that just didn't add anything to the movie. When Libby finds out her husband's alive, everything else blurs signifying that she's blown away by the info, nothing else is registering with her, etc. Except it just makes the movie hard to watch, and we all could have guessed she felt that way from context and by a few less fancy techniques, like allowing her to act shocked, like actors do in other films.

So there you have it. One of the number one box office draws is just a string of cliches. Often at this point I'd say that it at least had good action sequences, but it really didn't. One plus: one of the reoccurring themes was that you can find out anything on the Internet. Go Internet!


(Out of five)

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