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Legal Eagles Reviews

Redford, in a long-awaited return to light humor, stars as a hotshot assistant district attorney who has been given the task of prosecuting spaced-out performance artist Hannah. The daughter of an artist who perished in a fire when she was only eight years old, Hannah has been accused of attempting to steal a painting by her father that was dedicated to her. She is being defended by Winger--a tough, no-nonsense public defender appointed by the court because Hannah has no money to hire her own attorney. After several unlikely twists and turns of plot, Winger persuades Redford to join forces with her and help defend Hannah. As the two attorneys dig more deeply into the case, they discover a massive conspiracy in the swank Manhattan art world, involving a business tycoon (McMartin), a slimy art dealer (Stamp), and a corrupt cop (Dennehy). All the while, the attraction between Redford and Hannah, and between Redford and Winger threatens to disrupt the case. Although the on-screen rapport between Redford and Winger is a delight, the film itself is less than that. The script by TOP GUN writers Cash and Epps is muddled and unconvincing. Originally written as a buddy piece for Dustin Hoffman and Bill Murray, the project fell through when Hoffman accepted another such vehicle (ISHTAR with Warren Beatty) and Murray lost interest. The script was then rewritten as a romantic comedy, and that--not the mystery--is the aspect of the film that works. Ivan Reitman's direction doesn't help matters because he continually counterpoints the quirky, pleasant exchanges between Redford and Winger with protracted car chases, gun fights, and explosions. This is a frustrating film.