So, Robert Downey Jr. is a fancy big city lawyer and he’s unethical because he thinks the prosecutor in this case he’s doing has failed to meet the burden of proof and he dares to be slimy enough to tell the prosecutor that it’s the prosecution’s fault. Which is all totally true and exactly how the legal system works, but whatever, Downey Jr.’s character, Hank, is a tool for believing it. Anyway, he goes home for his mom’s funeral and he and Vincent D’onofrio are brothers and they have a quirk off. And anyway Robert Duvall is his estranged father and he’s the judge in this little town and then anyway, this guy dies and Robert Downey Jr. ends up having to defend his father the judge and also their relationship kind of evolves.
God, this movie was rank. This movie was rank as ****. First of all, there’s maybe enough plot for ninety minutes here and the movie is two-and-a-*******-half-hours long. This is probably the slowest movie I’ve seen in five years. And I watched The Great Beauty in February. Secondly, the script is just brutally bad; it’s one of the most clichéd and obnoxious scripts I’ve encountered in quite some time. Did I mention there’s a mentally challenged brother? He’s one of the most horribly written mentally challenged characters ever. God, he’s annoying as ****. This actor, Jeremy Strong, is just dreadful; he just ticks all the requisite boxes in the most obnoxious way possible. And that character contributes NOTHING to the central plot of the film! And then there’s a whole subplot where Robert Downey Jr. thinks that he’s slept with his own daughter! For NO REASON AT ALL is this in the ******* movie. Except to give Leighton Meester a cameo. Oh, but he also has another daughter, a young little girl and she’s annoying as **** too. And can I just say that Downey Jr. figures out that he slept with his own daughter when he sees his young girl stick her hair in her mouth in exactly the same way Leighton Meester did. I cannot tell you how ******* creepy that scene is.
Oh, but then let’s just get to THE SCENE. Okay, you guys . . . in this movie . . . Okay, you’re not going to believe me when I tell you this, but it’s true. I swear this happens. Robert Duvall POOPS ON THE FLOOR AND THEN SLIPS ON HIS POOP AND ALMOST FALLS DOWN.
Yeah. That ******* happens. I mean, what in the actual ****? Robert ******* Duvall has diarrhea in his pants and then slips in his own feces and almost falls down. I think that this scene is supposed to help us see the character as more human and get our sympathy as we see him struggling with old age and illness. But let me tell you, I had both hands clasped over my mouth, absolutely shaking with laughter. This is one of the weirdest, most “Where the **** did THAT come from?” moments I’ve encountered in a movie in a really, really long time. It’s just brutally awful. And the pathos of the scene is not helped by the sound effects, okay?
But okay, Robert Downey Jr. gives a solid performance here. He genuinely expresses a range of emotions and while he does do his typical schtick, it’s still a mostly good performance. But Robert Duvall? You guys, he is AWFUL. I know, I’m heartbroken. Earlier this year I watched The Godfather Part II and Duvall’s performance in that is just so subtle and brilliant that it really hurts to see him being so dreadful here. But it’s clear the director has told him to just play this character as if he were on SNL. It’s just the most stereotypical, clichéd crotchety old man you’ve ever seen. There’s no subtlety at all and no real emotion. It’s just hammy, awful acting. This pains me deeply. Also wasted is Vera Farmiga. Billy Bob Thornton gets a couple of nice, cheesy moments as the prosecutor. And Dax Shepard, as an incompetent small town lawyer, is the film’s biggest pleasure. I don’t know why we needed to see him vomit THREE TIMES, but still he gets the few laughs the film offers. Aside from having one of the greatest actors of all time clown around with diarrhea.
I just cannot even express to you how much I hate this movie. It’s so clichéd that I was literally saying lines along with the characters on a regular basis. It’s horribly acted. It’s punishingly long and brutally slow. And Robert Duvall just sends crap flying. (It’s on a towel, it’s on the wall, it’s on the floor, it’s on his pants . . .) This movie comes in at a resounding Strongly Warned Against. ½ star.
tl;dr – hammy acting, a clichéd script and a punishingly long running time combine to form one of the most brutally unwatchable films of the year. Also, Robert Duvall literally craps himself and then slips on his own feces and nearly falls down. That is not a joke. That happens. ½star.