The verdict for The Judge

Warner Bros. Pictures

Michelle Leddon, Staff Reporter

The Judge was the equivalent of a Lifetime movie that stars some pretty incredible actors. Lifetime movies are never good; they always have a lousy script, poor direction, and cheesy moments that drag on for too long. Aside from some unsurprisingly nice performances, The Judge was a Lifetime movie slapped onto the silver screen.

It tells the story of estranged father and son, uptight Judge Joseph Palmer (Robert Duvall) and snarky lawyer, Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) being forced to reunite for a funeral in Hank’s small, everybody-knows-everybody hometown. After the funeral, when Hank is eager to leave his miserable childhood town, his father is accused of murder. Hank cannot leave without getting involved in the murder trial, and the family must face each other as the trial progresses.

The story had potential, but was weak and way too long. The film was two hours and 21 minutes but could easily have been 90 minutes were it not filled with wannabe edge of your seat moments and forced heartfelt dialogue.

Duvall and Downey both give expectedly good performances and do what they are best at; Duvall is wise and intimidating, while Downey is sarcastic and witty. The two portray a strained father-son relationship extremely well, balancing the arguing and words unsaid with the heartfelt and touching moments without struggling.

It’s likely that the film’s problems boil down to director David Dobkin. His previous films include Wedding Crashers, The Change-Up, and Fred Claus. All amusing films worth at least a laugh or two depending on the viewer, but it was an extreme jump from comedies to a crime drama that Dobkin just didn’t seem to be able to handle. Dobkin should definitely stick to TBS friendly comedies instead of corny dramas.

The Judge left it easy to render a verdict. The movie dragged on and isn’t worth seeing in theaters. Wait until it’s running on television when you can leave during the boring moments and you will be better off.