Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Jury Duty: The Comedy Reviews

THE GREAT AMERICAN SEX SCANDAL is neither great, nor American, nor sexy, and the only thing scandalous about it is Bronson Pinchot's performance. Repackaged for home video from a Canadian television farce entitled "Jury Duty," the film plays like 12 ANGRY MEN filtered through the comic sensibility of "Love American Style." Bronson Pinchot stars as Sanford Lagelfust, a corporate accountant on trial for embezzlement. When the bombshell prosecution witness turns out to be the beauteous Hope (Tracy Scoggins), whose testimony is a litany of the gifts and travel opportunities Sanford has provided for her, the media seize on the unlikely lovers as tabloid fodder. The jury is a cavalcade of familiar types: Alan Thicke is an industrial developer who wants to raze languishing city blocks for a new office tower; Lynn Redgrave is an environmental crusader leading the fight to preserve a historic building; Heather Locklear is a borderline working girl; Stephen Baldwin is a male dancer who falls for her. Space is also found for Barbara Bosson (of TV's "Hill Street Blues") as a compulsive astrologer; Madchen Amick as an oblivious beauty; a juror trying to conceive a child (his wife sneaks into the sequestered jury's hotel whenever she's ovulating); and a widowed foreman who teaches the others the meaning of true love. Sanford's goose is just about cooked when the Locklear character recognizes Hope as a former call girl, bringing down the house of cards which had all but framed him. Sanford is acquitted to great media cheer. Thicke and Redgrave are bonded by their latent idealism; the ovulating juror's wife conceives; the foreman finds true romance; and so on, like dominoes in a line. Even the structure of this travesty is disingenuous: each day's testimony is punctuated with the jury's deliberation, even though--as every Court-TV addict knows--juries are routinely admonished never to discuss the case among themselves while testimony is still in progress. Bronson Pinchot, for whom this serves as something of a showcase, goes for Peter Sellers's record, playing the defendant, a desk clerk, a hotel concierge, and a Geraldo-manque known as "Jorge." Each of these caricatures is broader than the previous one, employing sillier and sillier hairpieces, until we get to the Geraldo schtick, which is simply embarrassing. Ill-conceived and ill-rendered, this humiliating exercise in titillation would best be stricken from the records of all concerned. (Adult situations.)