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Double Jeopardy

Starring Tommy Lee Jones and Ashley Judd; Bruce Greenwood, Annabeth Gish
Written by David Weisberg & Douglas S. Cook
Directed by Bruce Beresford

IN SHORT: Been there done that. [Rated [R], 105 minutes]

It's never a good sign when a movie reveals almost all there is to know in its trailer or teevee spot. So, this CrankyCritic® review comes to you guest hosted by Alex Trebek.

Cranky: I'll take "Deja Vu" for $400, Alex.
Alex: The answer is: Busted for a murder she didn't commit, an innocent runs from the law
Cranky: What is The Fugitive?
Alex: No, I'm sorry. "She" is the catch. The category is "deja vu"

Cranky: OK, then, same category for $800
Alex: The answer is: "Tommy Lee Jones hot on the trail of a Fugitive"
Cranky: Ah, you're not gonna fool me this time. What is U.S. Marshals?
Alex: Nope. Sorry. The answer to both questions is, well how about this, Double Jeopardy!

Which, had the producers gone the low budget route and cast Priscilla Presley and Mike Farrell, could have been sold as a Lifetime Exclusive Movie under the title -- I Killed My Husband . . . And Then He Stole My Baby!

Sentenced to jail for a gruesome murder she swears she didn't commit, rich young thing Libby Parsons (Ashley Judd) is obsessed with finding her young son, who has disappeared with the best friend into whose care he had been placed. When she tracks this pair down, to a new identity in a new city, she makes the awful discovery that her husband isn't dead! Since authorities don't want to hear it (they've heard it all before, don'tcha know) Libby heeds the sage advice of another ex-lawyer, also imprisoned for murder: "You've killed him once. You were convicted. They can't try you again for the same crime so, bide your time..."

That's a twist on the Fifth Amendment with reasoning that I'm sure any lawyer out there could take apart in a second. It doesn't get in the way of the story (unlike the problems I had with last year's A Simple Plan), a neat package whose loose ends are neatly tied up before the by the book heart tugging ending. Release on parole after six years, Libby is ensconced in a halfway house, under the eye of depressed ex-law professor turned parole officer Travis Lehman (Tommy Lee Jones) who has also lost a child to a thieving ex-spouse. Driven by the need to find her son, Libby will eventually break parole and Travis will follow. You get a cross country chase, at least one near death escape, an interesting story twist that Edgar Allen Poe probably dreamed and forgot a hundred years ago and a cute boy with a fuzzy mop top. Nothing you haven't seen before. With A-list stars to keep your attention, Double Jeopardy is a perfectly average way to pass the time, but it isn't gripping and thrilling storytelling. Blink twice and you'll see it on the rental racks.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Double Jeopardy, he would have paid...


Only the star names kick this thing into rental range.

Click to buy films by Bruce Beresford
Click to buy films starring Tommy Lee Jones
Click to buy films starring Ashley Judd

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