I always knew somewhere, somehow Alec Baldwin
and Demi Moore would star in a movie together. Think about
it -- they're both dark-haired, husky-voiced hunks who can't act
very well. THE JUROR is the movie that proves when you put two
people of that calibur next to one another trying to pull off serious
acting, the result will be mostly laughable.
Demi plays a single parent (mother of androgynous "3rd
Rock From the Sun" teen Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is called up
for jury duty in a Mafia murder case. The jury selection scene at the
beginning where Demi admits she never follows the news and has
no idea what's going on in the world seems almost autobiographical.
I have a hunch she's used the phrase "Someone needs to vote Reagan
out of office" at least once in the past year.
No sooner does the trial begin than a handsome gentleman
shows up to buy some of Demi's sculptures. (If they're anything like
her pottery in GHOST, I'm sure they'd sell out instantly... That's
sarcasm.) It's Alec, of course, and after he charms her and gets into
her house, he reveals his true intentions. He's got the house bugged
and he'll hurt the kid if he has to unless he hears those two magic
words -- not guilty.
Apparently, Demi is the only juror targeted by Alec for
extortion. He reveals that he "picked" her to convert the other jurors
to a not guilty verdit because of her magic gift of debate and
persuasion... and a pair of knockers that won't quit. The first hour
of THE JUROR is divided between Demi being inexplicably bitchy
to her kid and slutty best friend and shots of Baldwin listening in
on and taking pictures of her. Predictably, it turns into a fatal
attraction kind of obsession, with Alec going above and beyond
the Mafia call of duty to keep Demi in her place.
She actually does get them all to acquit the man on trial,
but that's just the first half of the movie. Baldwin still has to go even
more over the top in his portrayal of a man so obsessive he kills four
people after the trial and keeps stalking Demi after she's sent her son
off to Guatemala for safe-keeping. In between, there are more than a
few scenes of the two together, sending the Overacting Meter off the
chart with their inadvertently hilarious exchanges.
THE JUROR also sets off the Predictability and Boring
Expository Information Meters in more than one location. I'm going
to have to sentence this one to life in the Jail of Mediocrity because
it's probably the worst court trial movie since the gay porn orgy
HUNG JURY, starring "Twelve Horny Men."
Copyright © 1996 Andrew Hicks