Double Jeopardy

Date:    March 3rd, 2000


Libby Parsons - Ashley Judd
Travis Lehman - Tommy Lee Jones
Nick Parsons - Bruce Greenwood
Angela Green - Annabeth Gish

Director: Bruce Beresford

Nowadays, most of us have a movie collection. More than likely they are ones that we have probably seen before, but do not mind watching over and over, because they are entertaining. Hollywood has either latched onto this philosophy of showing us the same thing and hoping we’ll like it Or have they just truly run out of original ideas.

Take Double Jeopardy for instance, the initial premise sounded interesting. The title is based upon the legal precedent that someone cannot be tried the twice for the same crime. Ashley Judd is a mother who is convicted for her husband's murder. The catch is, he isn’t dead, and has framed her for his "murder." Now, she figures that she can kill him without any repercussions. When I first read this premise, I was intrigued and curious as to where the director would take it. The possibilities seemed interesting enough to merit a viewing. I have seen and heard some debate on the authenticity of the application of this precedent. The fact is, that much thinking would be unnecessary, because the film all but discards it once she decides carry out the act. Hence the film falls victim to the mediocrity, and conformity of universal appeal. It becomes an enjoyable, entertaining, but completely unoriginal three-way chase movie. The plot will never surprise you. As soon as you figure out the basic idea, you can tell exactly what’s going to happen next. You don’t have to think, or wonder. Sometimes, that is a good thing in movies, such as here. Once it all gets going, it becomes the Fugitive, without the heart-stopping thrills, but with a shot of estrogen from an inspired performance from Judd.

She has always been a favorite of mine, combining beauty, brains, energy, emotion, believability, and most of all, qualities that we can relate to. Here, she injects life into what could’ve easily been a throwaway role. She is definitely one of Hollywood’s most versatile young performers, who now deserves some room to show her dramatic ability.

Tommy Lee Jones is entertaining as the chaser, but as is the story with this movie, it's a role that we seen him do before. We know he can do this, we have seen it in Fugitive and U.S. Marshals and we do like to watch him do it. My only wish is that he would stop coasting on his Oscar laurels, and take on something that shows his acting range that we all know that he has. Take note as well, we get the adorable kid factor that worked in Big Daddy and A Cool Dry Place, although he does grow up, he is rather adorable in the early scenes

Ultimately, Double Jeopardy is not a waste of your time, but is a waste of a good idea. It plays upon the premise of giving us what we have seen and enjoyed before. For the most part, it does it fairly well and I can’t fault it much, because I was entertained. It just seems every time I turn around, there is another similar, recycled story, with the only difference being the scenery and stars.. I would just prefer a little originality and innovation in my movies. It’s like Chinese food, its something that you don’t want every night, but every now and then when you do crave it you don’t mind the same thing. My suggestion is to sit back, take Ferris Bueller out of your VCR (it’ll be on USA again within the next week, always is) turn your brain off and wager your rental dollars on this one. ($$1/2 out of $$$$)

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