The Judge

You expect fireworks when Downey Jr. and Duvall hold court — but the fuse never ignites

How did talent like this conspire to pump out such bilge? I mean, really. You expect fireworks when the always wily Robert Downey Jr. plays a slick Chicago lawyer called home to Indiana to defend his strict, disapproving judge daddy (the great Robert Duvall) on a murder charge. What you get is a fuse that never ignites. There's much more in this overstuffed, overlong slog, including Downey mixing it up with an ex-love (Vera Farmiga) and a legal nemesis (Billy Bob Thornton). But director and co-writer David Dobkin coats every cliché with cheap theatrics. Go ahead, see The Judge just for Downey and Duvall. But to cite another recent dud, this is where I leave you.