Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So That's Why They Call It That

I honestly had no idea why The Lincoln Lawyer was called The Lincoln Lawyer until I saw the movie. I couldn't figure it out and I'm guessing everyone else but me knew that Matthew McConaughey plays a lawyer who mostly operates out of his Lincoln Towncar and now I'm sure you're all laughing hysterically at my inability to figure that out even though the damn car was prominently featured in all the ads. You know what? Go ahead and laugh. I will console myself with the fact that The Lincoln Lawyer turned out to be a decent movie.

It's always nice to go see a movie that appeals to a slightly more mature crowd than your average blockbuster. I don't have to deal with people talking back to the screen, running around or texting the person sitting right next to them. Now that the atmosphere has been set, all I need is a good movie and The Lincoln Lawyer manages to provide that. This is one of those adult oriented mysteries you see in the Spring and Fall, most of which suck but this one managed to pull it out.

This isn't a great movie or, more properly, A Great Movie but there aren't too many of those and I wasn't expecting one anyway. The story centers around Mick Haller, Attorney at Law (McConaughey). As I said, Mick has an office but, for all practical purposes, his true office is his Lincoln Towncar in which he and his driver, Earl, literally chase ambulances. Mick is in every way the stereotype of a sleazy lawyer though he does seem to be a highly competent one. He'll find ways to cheat and overcharge you while he gets you off but he will, more often than not, get you off. This is why he gets hired by Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a man accused of trying to beat and rape a prostitute. At first, he thinks Roulet is some spoiled rich boy who might actually be telling the truth about being set up so the girl can sue him. Eventually, he comes to think that Roulet might be a serial killer who's responsible for a murder for which another one of his clients, a poor Mexican man, was convicted a few years back. In real life, I suppose you'd resign from one case or the other but, if Mick did that, the movie would have ended about 40 minutes in and been really boring.

One of the secrets to making a movie like this is loading it with talented character actors which is why you have people like William H. Macy playing Mick's investigator and friend and Marisa Tomei as his ex-wife, mother of his daughter and still his occasional bed partner when they've both had enough to drink. Older movies used to have a lot of interesting supporting characters and it's a never a bad thing when a movie does that instead of only having one or two characters do and say all the interesting stuff.

All in all, The Lincoln Lawyer is a very pleasant movie going experience that reminds me how good it can be when movies are made for grownups and how great Matthew McConaughey is on screen when he's not doing horrible romantic comedies. It was odd seeing him with a shirt on but that was a price I was willing to pay.

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