Conspiracy [2001]

What is it about director Richard Donner that Mel Gibson enjoys so much that he's appeared in five of Donner's films? Is it the on-set pranks? Could it be the big-budget perks and $20-million paychecks? Or is it just a well-stocked catering table? Whatever the case, the Lethal Weapon star and director teamed up again, along with fellow superstar Julia Roberts, for this typically glossy, entertaining but ultimately hokey thriller. Gibson plays New York cab driver Jerry Fletcher, whose wacky belief in conspiracies finally hits on a coincidental truth involving an evil figure named Jonas (Patrick Stewart) and a secret program of government-funded mind control. Roberts plays the Justice Department attorney who finally believes in Jerry's paranoid ramblings. With a plot (from LA. Confidential cowriter Brian Helgeland) that's a lot of fun as long as you don't think about it too critically, Conspiracy Theory benefits immeasurably from the charisma of its high-magnitude stars. --Jeff Shannon

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