film reel image

film reel image

Friday, June 3, 2016

Misconduct 2016 * * Stars

Director: Shintaro Shimosawa
Year: 2016
Rated R
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Al Pacino, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel

As a minimal bright spot, Josh Duhamel holds his own with a couple of acting heavyweights in 2016's Misconduct (my latest review). Speaking of said heavyweights, well Sir Anthony Hopkins and Al "hoo-ah" Pacino share very little screen time here. This is pretty much Duhamel's show. I mean Al and Tony are decent but they basically just pick up their paychecks. Heck, Hopkins could've been in Maniac Cop 4 and not even known the difference (ha-ha).

The story goes like this: Duhamel plays a low-level attorney named Ben Cahill. Upon receiving some illegal information from an ex-girlfriend (Malin Akerman as Emily Hynes), he decides he's gonna file a civil suit against a billionaire, pharmaceutical executive named Arthur Denning (Hopkins). Cahill gets the OK from his firm partner in Charles Abrams (Pacino). Straight-ahead plot contrivances aside, in the flick's opening act, there's a kidnapping scenario involving Denning's mistress that doesn't at all fit into Misconduct's storyline. There's also a couple of scenes (spoiler) in which Duhamel's Cahill kills two people and doesn't even get charged with a crime. Only in Hollywood folks, only in Hollywood.

Anyway, Misconduct is shot by first time director Shintaro Shimosawa. He keeps the atmospherics dark and fashions a streamlined, trashy soap opera with two accustomed, twist endings (remember Pacino in The Recruit?) that translate into 106 minutes. In a Basic Instinct sort of way, he follows his actors/actresses with lots of dolly shots, he lets his proceedings obtain a mild level of paranoia, and he films everything to the backdrop of an almost invisible New Orleans (so that's where all the happenings took place). People get murdered, stabbed, and beat up while various plot holes flow aplenty. Misconduct is a guilty watch but to a certain degree, it's a battered "miscalculation".

More things to observe in this Lionsgate release: Anthony Hopkins plays a rich guy for the umpteenth time. His character is full of irony, has a sh*t ton of money, and has a hot girlfriend. Al Pacino's character has a weird accent, runs a lawyer firm, and owns a pen worth $68,000 (I'm not kidding). Cast member Glen Powell like in this year's Everybody Wants Some!!, talks too fast, talks to much, and is feverishly annoying. Cast member Alive Eve like in this year's Criminal (she plays Cahill's dull wife), doesn't talk enough and looks as though she's been drugged. Finally, Korean actor Lee Byung-han plays a hitman called The Accountant, a sort of fitting name in a motion picture about moola settlements.

Bottom line: If you've seen Fracture (Anthony Hopkins stars in that one too) or 1993's The Firm, you'll sort of roll your eyes while viewing Misconduct. It's not nearly as credible as those films so you can chalk it up to barely being disposable entertainment. Rating: 2 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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