October 17, 1997 in Seven

No Temptation ‘Devil’s Advocate’ Hellishly Awful

Chris Hewitt St. Paul Pioneer Press
 

Q: Is the new Al Pacino/Keanu Reeves movie called “The Devil’s Advocate” or “Devil’s Advocate”?

A: Who cares? Either way, it’s garbage.

For your viewing displeasure, “Devil’s Advocate” (that’s the title, although the opening credits use “The”) offers: incest and pedophilia exploited for cheap, pervy thrills; a crass scene in which a topless actress forces another actress to “feel if they’re real”; a cop-out ending; and, most horrifyingly, the spectacle of Keanu Reeves pretending he’s a lawyer.

Reeves is probably a smart person, but he doesn’t project intelligence. He can be appealing (“A Walk in the Clouds”), but he’s not confident enough in his own skin to be an ace lawyer, and he often doesn’t seem to believe what he’s saying.

Reeves plays a guy who is paid lavishly by a law firm that’s hiding a secret, and if you’re thinking, “Didn’t John Grisham already do that story?” you’re right. Grisham and John Updike could file a joint lawsuit because, after cobbing from “The Firm” for two hours, “Devil’s Advocate” rips off “The Witches of Eastwick” for its last 30 minutes, when Reeves’ boss, Pacino, admits he’s the devil himself (we learn that early in the film).

Pacino has dialogue such as, “A woman’s shoulders are the frontline of her mystique. And her neck, if she’s alive, is a border town.” Huh? Anyway, unlike Reeves, Pacino plays the crummy script for laughs.

“Devil’s Advocate” is astonishingly sloppy - a courtroom subplot is simply forgotten - and only two people emerge with honor.

Judith Ivey gives her second fine performance of the month (she’s in “Washington Square,” too).

Meanwhile, Delroy Lindo, who has a small part, evidently asked that his name not be mentioned in the credits.

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story:

“Devil’s Advocate”

Location: Newport, Spokane Valley Mall, Showboat

Credits: Directed by Taylor Hackford, starring Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino

Running time: 2:18

Rating: R

This sidebar appeared with the story: “Devil’s Advocate” Location: Newport, Spokane Valley Mall, Showboat Credits: Directed by Taylor Hackford, starring Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino Running time: 2:18 Rating: R


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