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June 27, 1986 - Image 42

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-06-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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C., 1986 Delta Air Lines, Inc.

.42 Friday, June.27, 1986

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Darryl Hannah, Debra Winger and Robert Redford in "Legal Eagles."

It's very hard to go and see a
picture like Legal Eagles (rated
PG) without a lot of preconcep-
tions.
First of all, there's superstar
Robert Redford. Since we know
that the film is a romantic
comedy-mystery, we know in ad-
vance that Redford will be charm-
ing, ingratiating, and modestly
heroic.
Then there are the other stars:
Debra Winger and Darryl Han-
nah. We know that Winger will be
brash and sexy and Hannah will
be sulky and sexy.
Then we know that the director,
Ivan Reitman, did films like Ani-
mal House and Ghostbusters. So
we know there'll be some heavy
physical comedy, including the
obligatory car smash-ups.
Well, the good news and the bad
news is, depending on your point
of view, that Legal Eagles does,
indeed, deliver on all these points.
Redford is loose and funny and
exceptionally charming. Here he
is back playing the "Robert Red-
ford character" again, and he's
great at it. I was a little nervous
about having to review a Redford
performance, considering the fact
that I wrote of how poorly I
thought he had done in Out of Af-
rica. For my negative comments
about him in that one, I was
harangued and almost physically
attacked in public by some of his
irate fans.
But this time, I'm safe from
such possible excoriation. Redford
is properly cast, well-directed,
and has a part and script that suit
him perfectly. Of course, he
should have since the screenplay
was re-written five times, under
Redford's supervision, to make it
right for him.
Debra Winger, playing an at-
torney this time, is toned down
from some of her previous roles,
and she, too, comes off beautifully.
The chemistry between her and
Redford is exciting. I would be
surprised if we didn't see another
film with Redford-Winger.
Darryl Hannah projects sex like
crazy. Maybe it's because last
time I saw her she was halffish,
but I didn't realize she was so tall.
With those legs that won't quit
and her long blonde hair, she is a
knock-out on screen.
As to director Reitman, I was
delightfully surprised that he
could put together a film with
such a light touch as compared to
the anarchistic, nihilistic films

he's done before. Previously dub-
bed a "schlockmeister," Reitman
proves here he is far more than
that.
Unless you've been away on a
space mission or a trek through
Siberia, you've probably already
heard about Legal Eagles and
know something of the story.
Briefly stated, it's about art fraud,
false accusations, murder, and
how two bright persistent lawyers
untangle it all and cause justice to
triumph.
You may have read some of the
reviews, which as best as I can
determine thus far are split about
50/50 over whether this is a de-
lightful, wonderful experience, or
a somewhat disappointing, heavy,
plodding near-miss.
I find myself right in the middle
on this one. I think that Legal
Eagles is a pleasant summer di-
vertissement. It's very hard not to
like Redford, Winger, and Han-
nah. There are some fresh, off-
beat amusing scenes and
dialogue.
On the other side of the ledger,
there is a clumsy, melodramatic
plot. When the villains appear on
screen, they scowl, grimace and
sneer. You sure know-they're the
bad guys right off the bat.
It was, nonetheless, interesting
to see Terence Stamp again — al-
beit in an older incarnation. Brian
Dennehy is solid as always and
Steven Hill was tops, too, as the
opportunistic district attorney.
There are slow moments, and
there is some awkward plotting.
In the technical area, there is
some strange cutting. We get zip-
ped around during some
Redford-Winger dialogues with
needless, distracting edits. Maybe
there wasn't enough footage to
cover or maybe there was a prob-
lem around which they had to
edit.
There is reportedly $12 million
worth of art used in the film. It
adds a note of visual spice and au-
thenticity.
Legal Eagles owes a lot to pre-
decessors like the classic Tracy-
Hepburn Adam's Rib. And while,
yes, we all know that comparisons
are "odious," it's hard to avoid
making some reference to the ear-
lier masterpiece when the two
have so many similarities.
Unfortunately, this newer work
will not compete for a place in film
history with Adn.m.'s Rib. But, on
the other hand, it does offer
enough wit, style, and excitement.

AO*

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