There's Too Much Junk in The Judge
Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall are great, but no fireworks
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2014 12:17 PM CDT

(Newser) – If you thought Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall would create magic on screen, critics might be about to burst your bubble. The Judge, in which Downey Jr. stars as a hotshot lawyer representing his judge-turned-murder-suspect dad Duvall, doesn't live up to some expectations. Here's what critics are saying:

  • "You expect fireworks when Downey Jr. and Duvall hold court—but the fuse never ignites," writes Peter Travers at Rolling Stone. "How did talent like this conspire to pump out such bilge?" Director David Dobkin "coats every cliché with cheap theatrics," and when all boils down, The Judge is just an "overstuffed, overlong slog," Travers writes.
  • Tom Long at the Detroit News seconds that motion. The Judge is "the sort of movie that crams too much into too slight a story," he writes. "Let's just say any film that has a high school romance rekindled, hints of incest, cancer, professional baseball, mental disability, and repeated vomiting has too much going on, especially when some things have no tie to the basic story."
  • Stephen Whitty at the Star-Ledger, however, throws the movie a bone. "It's sturdy enough to allow for more than two hours of sharp dialogue and great acting, if not particularly inventive plotting." And Downey Jr. does well playing "the smartest person in the room," Whitty notes. Then again, he should, considering it's a role he's "played many times before."
  • Joe Neumaier isn't turned off, either. Writing for the New York Daily News, he says the flick is "entertaining, satisfying." He notes Dax Shepard, Billy Bob Thornton, and other co-stars "bring their A-games," while Downey Jr. hands audiences "a rock-solid, fully committed performance." Duvall, however, "nearly steals the show."