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Lawyer Charlie Tuttle is defending his wife's relative Benny Gibbs in a class action fraud suit, but when he gets to the city where court takes place, he gets drunk and the following day, when the hearings begin, his friend, actor Richard Rjetti takes his place posing as Charlie. The bad thing is that Richard doesn't know anything about being a lawyer, and Charlie has to teach him as the court goes on. Written by
Marcos Eduardo Acosta Aldrete
Far from spectacular, but Michael Richards and Jeff Daniels make a good comedy duo
I think it was about five years ago when I first discovered that this
1997 lawyer comedy existed. It took me this long to finally get around
to seeing it, even though I've been familiar with the two stars for
quite some time now. I've seen Jeff Daniels as Jim Carrey's co-star in
"Dumb & Dumber", and knew the now infamous Michael Richards obviously
for his role as Kramer in the popular sitcom, "Seinfeld", plus his
roles in comedy films such as "UHF" and "So I Married an Axe Murderer".
Since I had seen both of these actors in funny movies/TV shows, I
figured I might find "Trial and Error" mildly amusing, nothing more,
judging by its general reception. Expecting a mixed blessing, I didn't
get any big surprises, pleasant or unpleasant.
Charles Tuttle (Daniels) is a lawyer who will soon be married. His best
friend, and best man for the wedding, is an out-of-work actor named
Richard Rietti (Richards). Tuttle has been called over to Paradise
Bluff, Nevada to defend his fiancée's relative, Benny Gibbs, in a class
action fraud suit. When he arrives in the town, Richard (or "Ricky") is
there, and is ready to throw a bachelor party for his friend. After
drinking and getting attacked in the bar, Charlie is not well enough to
work the next day, so Ricky decides to go to the courtroom and claim to
be a lawyer named Charles Tuttle! Charlie is not happy when he hears
what Ricky has done, and soon finds that he now has to pose as an actor
named Richard Rietti! Since the real Rietti is not trained to be a
lawyer, the real Charlie pretends to be his assistant, using cue cards
to tell him what to do on the job while he defends Benny. Obviously,
this leads to a horrible mess!
There weren't too many times when I laughed really hard while watching
this 1997 comedy, but there were many parts I found at least mildly
amusing. I can't forget Ricky discovering that his sick friend in bed
has emptied out his pill bottle, Ricky trying to prepare Charlie for
the trial while he is ill, Charlie's reaction when he learns what Ricky
has done, and many things the main characters go through while they
pose as each other. Michael Richards and Jeff Daniels are a good pair
in the lead roles, which might be the main reason why this film is
funny. Richards, with his over-the-top antics, playing a character with
good intentions who keeps lousing up, and Daniels, with some of the
faces he makes and his character's reactions to Ricky's doings.
Unfortunately, the plot isn't too interesting, and if the film were
hilarious, that wouldn't matter, but it's not funny enough to prevent
the movie from being a little dull. Also, the romance wasn't done so
well, eventually getting a little sappy, and the ending leaves much to
This movie came out the same year as "Liar Liar", another lawyer
comedy. That film is definitely the more popular of the two, but I have
to be honest, I prefer this one, as crazy as many people might think I
am for that. While Jim Carrey has made me laugh in other films, I found
that his antics went too far in that one. Richards and Daniels, while
not usually hilarious in the film, are still pretty funny. I'm sure we
all know about Richards' racist tirade in November 2006, which
obviously permanently damaged his reputation and started a never ending
debate over whether he really meant what he said and whether his
apology was honest or not. It clearly had more impact than Mel Gibson's
tirade earlier that year, and the main reason for that was probably
because Richards was caught on video. I remember feeling like I could
never watch anything with Richards in it again after I first heard
about the incident and saw the footage, but now, regardless of his
reputation and what may go on in his head, I have to admit, he can
still make me laugh in the comedies I see him in. If you like the two
co-stars in "Trial and Error" as comedians, then this flick could
easily make you laugh, or at least some parts could.
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