Wednesday, July 7, 1993 - TheMihgan Daiy Sumer Weely -13
Kill all the lawyers
'The Firm' disappoints on all counts
By ALISON LEVY
Since Hollywood has become
entity that orbits around agents at
their stars instead of filmmakers at
screenwriters, it is nc big surprise th
producers with lots of bucks and a
creativity hang aroundpublishingcor
panies waiting to snap up the fi
rights to books even before they hit t
presses. That way they don't have
Directed by Sydney Pollack; written b
Robert Towne and David Rayfiel; wit
Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, Jeanne
Tripplehorn and Ed Harris.
worry about the bothersome task
coming up with ainteresting and cre
Thus it follows that thehottestne
film adaptation would be Joh
Grisham's smash, "The Firm."Unfo
tunately, this film, like many of
predecessors (remember "Prince
Tides"?), loses something in the trar
lation from book form.
First of all, let me say that "T
Finn" wasn't a good book. It was
good screenplay. All director Sydn
Pollack had to do was copy it direct
to the end. Well, o1' Syd got a lit
ambitious and now this laughably b
flick is so distant from the material
which it's based thatGrishamhas pu
licly bitched fromcoasttocoast.Tha
not really fair, though, 'cause he ma
moneyonthe dealandIhad toshello
six bucks to see the thing.
So, in the interest of retributio
after I quickly outline the disma
stupid plot, I will provide you with
own personal bitch list.
THE PLOT: All-American h
school grad, Mitch McDeere (T
Cruise)is seducedawayfromthe W
Street boys by a secretive Memp
firm. Well, it's not that secretive
cause after about 10 seconds Syd
on that it's ruled by the mafia.
course, his wide-eyed, smart, sas
Abby (Jeanne Tripplehon of "Ba
Instinct" fame), has figured most
this out before they're done unpa
ing. But now FBI-guy Tarrance
Harris of "Glengarry Glen Ross"
trying to get Mitch to give up all
documents linking the finntothem
Unfortunately, no lawyer has ever
the firm alive. Oooooooh. Satisfi
Here I go.
1. THE MENTOS COMME
CIAL. I hope you are all acquain
with these nauseatingly stupid sp
Anyway, on the first night in Me
phis, Mitch and Abby are out on
town with fellow fin yups, Lam
down the street and Cruise joins h
flip, they jump up and high five with a
big old "Yeah!" Why the hell is this
here?Does the firm hire solely athletic
lawyers? Will Cruise star next in
"American Anthem II"? Or does
Sydney moonlight for Mentos since
thedisappointmentof "Havana"? You
be the judge.
2. WILFORD BRIMLEY. He
plays the firmn'shead of security. Ever
since he was that dicky grandpa on
"Our House," I wanted to kick the shit
out of him.
3. THE TONE. Okay, I realize in
the rush to waste tens of millions of
forget to look closely at the script.
Here's a hint. "The Firm" was sup-
posed to be asuspensfull thriller about
odd reason they got this description
confused with a lighthearted hi-jinx
comedy, a model to which the film
aspires. Everyone tries to be a fucking
comedian jockeying for pole position
at The Improv. Instead of heightening
the suspense, the terse, flip lines only
draw attention to this failed attempt.
4. ACTING. Cruise phoned in his
Tom Cruise and Gene Hackman seek out Wilford Brimley to give him another briefcase-thrashing.
adjectives spring to mind: melodra- poi
matic, implausable, pointless and just six
plain bad. The screenplay is peppered glo
with remedies fromscript doctor Rob-
ert Towne, but it's not enough to cure
the boring dialogue.
nt of the film and almost worth the Sweetheart (Tom Cruise) kick the shit
dollar admission is reveling in the out of Wilford Brimley. Go Tom.
ry that is watching America's THE FIRM is playing at Showcase.
a performance from the Scientology ' 8. MONTAGE-FEST '93. This
ey compound where he, Nicole and le trend seems to be more popular than
ly bebe are vacationing. Jeanne Lollapalooza or following the Dead.
es Tripplehom and the lawyers are card- There must be at least 750 montages in
tie board. The only interesting perfor- the firsthour alone. This is Syd's cop-
ad mances, which come from Gary Busey, out form of exposition. Please. Go A lu m n i
on Holly Hunter,DavidStrathaim and Ed back to film school.
b- Harris, aren't around long enough. 9. WILFORD BRIMLEY. Ever
t's 5. WILFORD BRIMLEY. Ever since I found out he was going to be in h ere:
de since he did those Quaker Oats com- thismovie, I wantedtokick the shitout
)ut mercials, I wanted to kick the shit out of him.
of him. 10.DIRECTION. The worst part i
n, 6. THE ENDING. It's so damn of the whole film. Someone like Alan M cDonald's
ally painful that I'd like to spill it, but I Pakula, with more experience at para-
my won't because I'm too nice of a girl. noia ("The Parallex View"), or Marty
Let me just say, however, that the Scorsese, with subtle seduction, could Video Palace
aw ending to "E.T." is more realistic. have pulled this off like a charm. Syd
om 7.THEDIALOGUE.Itgivessoap drops the ball. B w -A-Ram a
Vall opera writers a good name. A few ll.SAVING GRACE.Thehigh- o
Msy, Gargoyle Magazine
rife, I TC -N
of SERVICE Corner of 4th and Lincoln
left UNIVERSITY TOWERS APARTMENTS Because they
ad? 536 S. FOREST AVENUE
ER- ANN ARBOR, MI 48104 worked here:
pots. m M
the EFFICIENCY, 1, 2, & 3 BEDROOM APARTMENTS
lips 8 & 12 MONTH LEASES " HEAT AND WATER INCLUDED
im, STUDY LOUNGE " GAME ROOM " WEIGHT ROOM INE
0th POOL " TV ROOM 0 24 HOUR ATTENDED LOBBY
MTS COMPUTERS -1420 Maynard St., * (313)763-0303
-- T--- C- MPUTE----