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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Law Abiding Citizen


I have a friend we’ll call “Gale” to protect her anonymity because her story is one of raw lust, not meant for mixed company or to be shared at dinner parties.  “Gale” is a fifty year old woman with a teenager’s crush on Scottish actor Gerard Butler. Say his name and she squeals like she’s been goosed hard. Say it twice and she’ll have to change her panties she’ll get so excited. So you can imagine when Butler’s latest release, Law Abiding Citizen, opened this week it would be inevitable that I would take my BFF to see the movie, but not before I grabbed a few towels, a bottle of disinfectant, and a roll of Saran Wrap® to ensure the quality maintenance of her theater seat in case seeing Butler’s presence on the big screen proved too overwhelming and “Gale” lost all her bodily functions at his first appearance. If only I could get her to put me in her will I’d put some energy into arranging a face-to-face meeting between the two. That way we’d both win. She’d die happy and I’d be rich. The only loser in that scenario would be Gerry because I’m sure “Gayle’s head would explode upon laying eyes on him and he’d be stuck with brain goo all over his snappy designer duds (not to mention her eyes, really laying upon him somewhere).




Okay. So maybe I exaggerate slightly, but “Gale’s” unfettered fluttering of the heart for the Great Scott is a wonder to behold. I will admit I do find Butler mildly attractive, especially as he was playing the caring and oh-so-sensitive dead husband to Hilary Swank in P.S. I Love You. Of course, in that he was a corpse and so his compassion comes mostly off-screen and after a terminal cancer diagnosis, so it makes sense in a way that belies his macho image in other movies like 300, Gamer and The Ugly Truth. Those films seem more in line with what I imagine the “real” Gerard Butler to be like. He probably has a good sense of humor (he’d have to since he spent the entirety of 300 in a leather mini-skirt), an intensity to his concentration (hey, killing hundreds of guys out to get him as he did in Gamer takes focus), and he’s had a string of other women he’s left in his wake (as was implied in The Ugly Truth). That’s an important point: I don’t see Gerard as the marrying kind, at least not in this decade. Just in 2009 so far, he’s been alleged to have dipped his pen in the inkwells of a legion of Hollywood hotties, including Jessica Simpson, Shanna Moakler, Jennifer Aniston, Cheryl Burke, Cameron Diaz, Priyanka Chopra, Josie D`arby, Rosario Dawson, Kola Boof, Naomi Campbell, Cassandra Hepburn, Chiara Conti and a handful of other models and pass-around-honeys that regularly make Page Six for no other reason than that. Dear God, if a woman was as promiscuous as Gerry, she’d either be called the town slut or at the very least she’d be a Kardashian. Meanwhile, man-whore Butler gets a pat on the back from Hollywood and a wink of approval for all his efforts by the tabloids. I just hope he has stock in Church & Dwight Inc., Co. (the makers of Trojan™ condoms).





I guess it is because of Gerry’s public persona that I found Law Abiding Citizen a bit of a stretch from its first frame forward. In it, Butler plays Clyde Shelton, a happily married husband and father to a six year old girl. I mean, really? My first thought was “I didn’t know this was going to be a science fiction flick” but before I could even whisper this incredulity to “Gale” intruders broke in and killed the mother and kid and left Clyde for dead without us ever getting to know exactly why the murderers chose the Shelton family to slay. A motive would have been nice, but then again, this picture is all about Clyde’s motives, so the mother and daughter are quickly dispensed with and the action flashes forward to three years later and the execution of one of the two killers. The other, thanks to a plea bargain deal made with Assistant District Attorney Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx; The Soloist), gets only ten years in prison even though Clyde begged to testify against the guy. Einnie meenie chilly beanie and we flash forward again ~ this time ten years (and the movie is only 15 minutes old). Amazingly, none of the principals seems to have aged a day in that quick decade despite all the stress, though I think my Sour Patch Kids® tasted like they had just passed puberty about now.




Now Nick’s been promoted to DA and he and wife Kelly (Regina Hall; Superhero Movie) are no longer kissy-huggy newlyweds. Now they are parents to nine-year old daughter Denise (Emerald-Angel Young; tv’s “Life on Mars”) and sniping at one another like old pros. As for Clyde, apparently he’s been watching all the Saw movies over and over because he is cooking with gas when it comes to having made plans for the newly paroled child-killer.  Violence ensues and when the police show up to arrest Clyde he, naturally, strips naked so Butler won’t break his streak of exposing his ass-crack in all of his movies. I think he and Ewan McGregor are practicing the old Scottish game of ‘Butt Bingo’ to see who can show the most anal roughage throughout their career. But I digress.



From this point Law Abiding Citizen takes a whole other turn and becomes some sort of high-minded vengeance flick in the tradition of Death Wish. Clyde rails on about the nightmarish mistakes the justice system continues to make and how he blames the District Attorney and judges involved in his case and that of his family’s killers as perfect examples of how easily manipulated people can be. When a female judge sympathizes with him and offers him bail, he lets loose a diatribe of profanity against her for not throwing the book at him. Later, she learns just how serious he was when he told her he’d prove to everybody just what an “empty-headed c**t” she really is. You’ll understand exactly what I mean by that when you see the movie, but you can pretty much take that literally, if you get my drift, and I know that you do.





The tension and excitement that keeps Law Abiding Citizen at the top of its game comes from the well-edited (Sarah Farrand; Grace) and superbly directed (F. Gary Gray; Be Cool) behind-the-scenes team as well as the chemistry between the principals, Foxx and Butler. An effective score by Brian Tyler (The Final Destination) also ratchets up the suspense and hits all the right notes to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. The mystery of how an incarcerated wing-nut in a maximum security prison is managing to commit a series of remarkably designed and executed murders without ever having a single visitor or phone call from someone acting as his accomplice will keep you wondering right up to the last reel just how he is pulling this off.



I’m surprised Law Abiding Citizen hasn’t gotten a lot more buzz than it has. It certainly deserves an audience. Granted, the plot does ask that you suspend your belief more than once ~ coincidences are too...well, coincidental, to be believed anywhere but in the movies ~ but Law Abiding Citizen is still bloody good fun and definitely worth a look-see.

1 comment:

weetiger3 said...

LOL I couldn't agree with your assessment more! http://weetiger3.livejournal.com
Oh, and by the way, this? "...a few towels, a bottle of disinfectant, and a roll of Saran Wrap®" is called a do-it-yourself "chairdom" by many a G fan.