Genre: Drama, Crime, Romance
The best film satires are not necessarily to be found in the theaters, where only independent filmmakers have the courage to risk alienating the ticket-buying audience. Cable TV has proven to be fertile ground for many a sharp-tongued script and Legalese is as smart and acerbic as they come. James Garner is deliciously conniving as a high-profile criminal lawyer who secretly presides over a high-profile murder trial like he's the Wizard of Oz, whispering directions into the ear of his fresh-faced assistant (Edward Kerr) while monitoring the surrounding media circus from his multimedia eye-in-the-sky office. Gina Gershon is the Hollywood starlet and Apple industry poster girl whose scandalous murder charge sends the tabloid media (led by the predatory talk-show titan Kathleen Turner) into a headline frenzy ("Rotten to the Core" proclaims one muckraking TV show). Mary-Louise Parker is at her best as Garner's ambitious assistant, a savvy, sexy, self-assured junior partner developing her feral instincts when Kerr awakens her slumbering idealism. The sharp, cutting screenplay skewers their relationship with tawdry media sensationalism and camera-hogging legal tactics, but loses the conviction of its cynicism in a satisfying if too cozy happy ending. Until then, it's a nasty little poisoned pastry of a film, served up thick and juicy and oh-so tart. --Sean Axmaker

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