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|Index||34 reviews in total|
Ivan Reitman, fresh off the special effects high of "Ghostbusters"
takes on romantic comedy that works in fits and starts in "LEGAL
Robert Redford, with breezy style, is a NYC D.A. who prosecutes at whim. Enter Debra Winger, a scrappy lawyer so desperate, she once chose to put a dog on the stand to make her case. The two fall in love (or about as 80's as it gets - they become partners) in representing an airy client (Daryl Hannah) who may (or may not) have committed a major art fraud/crime.
This is a time-capsule of a film... written by the guys who wrote "Top Gun" and "Dick Tracy", it's a big, over-packaged film that's both romantic comedy, star-vehicle, and glossy, synthetic who-done-it. All the Reitman glitz-and-polish is there (with big setpieces scattered throughout), and the movie is easy on the eyes, especially with Redford's easy, casual performance pulling the viewer along and Reitman's deft comedic touch.
It was also a troubled production to be sure: Bill Murray was once considered for the Winger role, creating a love triangle that would have found Hannah torn between the Sundance Kid and Nick The Lounge Singer - but alas, Murray opted out. In interviews long since the film's release, Winger claims no desire ever to work with Reitman again.
1986's "LEGAL EAGLES" is probably the textbook case of the all-powerful talent agency known as Creative Artists Agency packaging a Real Motion Picture - what industry wags call a "filmed-deal". But is Legal Eagles any good? Sure, I guess. It's competently directed, it makes great use of it's New York City art-world locales, it has a wonderful Elmer Bernstein score, great cinematography by the legendary Laszlo Kovacs and both Winger and Hannah make for delicious eye-candy when pared with Redford. Ultimately, it becomes systematic of what was askew in these "packages": the movie relies solely on the audience goodwill, fine craftsmanship and former successes of its primary players to carry the load. "LEGAL EAGLES" is by no means a failure, but wrapped in such a glossy serving, it's hard to really enjoy anymore than for its quick, empty calories.
I have a soft spot for this film - it's great to see Redford on screen seeming to have such a spirited good time after an absence from movie comedy for a number of years - but after all is said and done, "LEGAL EAGLES" is as enjoyable as a Big Mac, albeit one served on a fine china dinner plate.
PS - the TV version of this film has a curious, bizarre alternate ending which negates the whole court case!
You don't get actors like Redford and Winger anymore. The subtleties in
their facial expressions, the humanness of their characters are evident
in each move they make and each action. In a sense, there is no
'acting', since the storyline, the characters and the flow reach a
natural confluence. The only character that makes me feel a bit
uncomfortable is Daryl Hannah's Chelsea - the performance artist. Brian
Dennehy is also a little underutilised, but the movie is really a
swinger for both Winger and Redford who make their attraction and
talent as attorneys believable.
I've seen this movie about 5 times over the years and I never get sick of it. Though I know the plot, each time I find myself watching the actors rather than predicting the storyline. Its just great and really, so easy to watch and enjoy. There is humour, old fashioned romance, good IL' bad guys vs good guys, a bit of blood and gore and a lot of fine art thrown in. I highly recommend it!
Full of plot holes and expensive excesses, LEGAL EAGLES wouldn't be much
without the genuine star power it receives from it's first class
Redford is very charming as the assistant D.A. whose becomes involved with defense lawyer Winger (terrific as always) to solve a case that includes arson, stolen paintings, insurance fraud, and even murder.
The chemistry between Redford and Winger is very much like Spencer and Tracy and is very enjoyable to watch. However, Daryl Hannah steals the show as the slightly off center performance artist who is in the middle of the complex case.
The film's story will not hold up under much thought and the many shots of buildings on fire will only appeal to pyros. Still, this film is fun entertainment and is a must-see if you are a fan of one of the three stars.
I'd rate this a good 6 out of 10.
I can't help loving this movie! It's a throwback to old-school romantic comedy, with a mystery thrown in, kind of like "The Thin Man". I guess the best thing about it is Debra Winger as Laura J. Kelly, a pixieish defense lawyer who enjoys a love-hate relationship with assistant D.A. Robert Redford. A lot of people don't like this movie, but I can't understand why. It's a sweet and funny tale with sympathetic characters and a pretty good mystery. What's wrong with that?
Come on, you have to admit that this film has a good cast with Debra Winger, Robert Redford, Daryl Hannah, and others in supporting roles like Christine Baranski. I like the fact that it was shot in New York City and not on location somewhere. No offense, Toronto or Vancouver but the backdrop does a good job. Remembering a time when the twin towers was still alive and kicking downtown. I liked the combination of Winger and Redford even though they disliked each other on the set according to rumors. Daryl Hannah plays Chelsea who seeks her father's art from crooked businessmen. She does an adequate job and proves that she's not just a pretty face. Daryl always plays shy very well but in this case, Chelsea is not shy at all. She is a bit rebellious and a performance artist with a fascination for fire. She teams up with Winger's character and later with Redford in more ways than can be said to prove her innocence and get justice served.
I really do love Legal Eagles, it's a film that hearkens back to the
stuff that William Powell and Myrna Loy did at MGM. I can see a younger
Tracy and Hepburn in this film as well.
Robert Redford is the Jack McCoy of the New York County District Attorney's office and wouldn't you know it, Steven Hill plays the New York County DA here. Hill's thinking of hanging it up, but obviously as fans of Law and Order know, he eventually didn't. He's thinking of promoting Redford as his candidate to succeed him come the next election.
But for budding politico Redford, his life gets real complicated when defense attorney Debra Winger and her client Darryl Hannah enter his life. Hannah is the daughter of a famed artist who was killed in a loft fire where she barely escaped from when she was about 6. Since then she's become something of a wild child.
Hannah steals a picture from art dealer Terrence Stamp that she says is really hers. That starts a chain of events in which she's eventually accused of Stamp's murder. That same night Hannah decides she needs a little tender loving care and who better than the assistant district attorney to give it. The police bust her when she and Redford are in flagrato.
After that Redford decides to see how the other half lives working with Debra Winger on Hannah's defense.
What I liked about Legal Eagles is that it glided nicely from comedy to drama with little effort. The climax at Terrence Stamp's gallery was very well staged and Redford is being a most heroic lawyer.
Also in the cast are Roscoe Lee Browne as the judge at Hannah's trial and Brian Dennehy as a most interesting investigator. It's one of Robert Redford's best films and it's got style and substance.
With Redford, style is a given.
It's far from perfect but 'Legal Eagles' is quite nostalgic and
entertaining. The story is very contrived especially with so many plot
holes and the characters aren't fully fleshed out either but it has a
very noire style approach and does keep you in suspense. The humour
also works quite well. On the technical side it's a decently made film,
nothing too flashy which is good. I also liked the presentation of the
No matter what one says about 'Legal Eagles', for me the highlight is easily Robert Redford and a very cute Debra Winger. Both actors are spellbinding, delivering subtle and charming performances. As performers, they just look so comfortable with each other. Their chemistry is amazing and their scenes, especially their on-screen banter, are a delight to watch.
Daryl Hannah's role is sketchy but she looks sizzling and I enjoyed her sequences with Redford and the scene where she demonstrates her art. Brian Dennehy is wasted. Terence Stamp is adequate.
So yes, it's got its flaws but how can you not enjoy it for Redford and Winger?
The reason no one dates personal injury lawyers is because they only want to promenade in front of businesses with icy sidewalks.
Luckily, the lawyer in this comedy-thriller is sleeping with a client, not a colleague.
Assistant D.A. Tom (Robert Redford) decides to help attorney Laura (Debra Winger) defend Chelsea (Daryl Hannah) against charges she stole a painting from an art dealer (Terence Stamp).
Adamant her father gave her the painting before his suspicious death - and destruction of his art collection - Chelsea not only convinces Tom but seduces him as well.
But when a dubious cop (Brian Dennehy) uncovers the entire collection intact, it threatens Tom's career and his life.
Crackling with comedic repartee, a fiery May/December romance and an unpredicted adversary, Legal Eagles may be clichéd but it's not without its charms.
Incidentally, if you're going to sleep with anyone in the court system - make it a judge. Yellow Light
As rival attorneys in New York City, Robert Redford and Debra Winger aren't exactly Tracy and Hepburn (he's too wishy-washy and callow, she's too flighty), but they do get to loosen up a bit from prior roles, creating an amusing give-and-take relationship while defending performance artist Daryl Hannah on murder charges. Plot is so haphazardly constructed that it was re-worked for the TV version and still nobody could figure it out. Redford and Winger get out of a bomb-laden warehouse just in the nick of time, but how they do it will have smart viewers crying foul. There are other problems, not to mention a strange, off-putting show put on by Hannah where she appears to go up in flames, but the charisma of the players is just enough to carry this heavy vehicle to a happy conclusion. The outtakes at the finale are charming, as is Rod Stewart's song "Love Touch". **1/2 from ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(1986): I'm amazed this gloriously expensive, stunningly exciting and wholly engrossing movie received such lukewarm reviews. It's well written and superlatively acted too. Admittedly, Robert Redford occasionally seems just a little too old for the role but that's the fault of the photographer, the editor and maybe the director. I would have diced Redford's too revealing facial close-ups and used medium shots instead. Certainly, the rest of the players have no reason to complain. Debra Winger and Daryl Hannah always look great! I have no quarrels with any of the acting at all, and I was absolutely thrilled by all the great action sequences obviously filmed on real Manhattan locations. Even when you know the plot, this is a thriller that can be enjoyed again and again, because the action scenes are so terrific, the cast is so engaging and the writing so delightfully offbeat. Although the movie runs nearly two hours, there's not a single slack moment. Not a one! Highly recommended for all but the too impressionable. Available on an excellent DVD.
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