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Alan J. Pakula
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio,
Extortionist Jake Farley is found strangled, and the clues lead directly to former detective Joe Paris, who insists on his innocence but can't provide an alibi. Public defendant Jenny Hudson gets the case, but has problems unravelling the case, complicated by the fact that virtually everyone hated Farley, and Paris has a few enemies as well. She rejects the prosecution's offers to plea bargain, but meanwhile the witnesses she finds are discredited or silenced, and an unidentified patrol car shadows Paris and Hudson wherever they go. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
At 1:32 into the film, Theresa Russell is standing in front of a bookcase with a political sticker on it, "O'Neill for Congress". Thomas P. 'Tip' O'Neill represented Massachusetts 8th and 11th districts for thirty-four years, retiring two years before the film premiered. O'Neill though was Speaker of the House from 1977 to 1987. About one minute later, Burt Reynolds passes a campaign poster, "Flynn for Mayor." Raymond L. Flynn was Boston's mayor from 1984-1993. See more »
(at around 1h 27 mins) It is night when the cop brings food to the cruiser. But, seconds later it is clearly daytime. See more »
Originally intended to be the sequel to "Jagged Edge", the Burt Reynolds vehicle "Physical Evidence" is just barely adequate. The veteran star, and noted author / occasional filmmaker Michael Crichton, seem to be just going through the motions. A very routine and forgettable picture, it's clumsily written, boringly handled, and saved to a degree by a solid supporting cast.
Burt plays Joe Paris, a detective with a nasty temper who's currently on suspension. He makes a plausible suspect when a notorious sleazy criminal turns up dead, and it's up to the crusading public defender Jenny Hudson (Theresa Russell) to clear his name.
Russell tries hard, and does look absolutely great, but she is indeed simply miscast in her role. Burt looks like he can't wait to leave the set and cash his paycheck. Burts' frequent co- star Ned Beatty has a welcome presence as the district attorney who is sure that the case is a slam dunk for him. Kay Lenz is also lovely as always, and appealing, as a mobsters' wife. Ted McGinley is appropriately odious as Jenny's smarmy yuppie boyfriend. Tom O'Brien is a convincing jerk as the obnoxious lowlife son of the murder victim. Kenneth Welsh is excellent as always as a snooty crime kingpin. And Ray Baker does what he can with an underwritten role as a cop.
Somewhat slick, but too predictable, and too silly, to really work all that well.
Filmed in Toronto and Boston.
Five out of 10.
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