The Devil's Advocate (1997)
(Release Date: October 17, 1997)
Great Idea, Great Nudity... not perfect!1/2

The Devil is in the Details

Mad Baby! (Yeah, this was me!)
J.C. Mašek III
The World's Greatest Critic!
You've read the book, now see the movie:

You've seen the movie, now Read the Book:
The Devil's Advocate is one of a breed of modern-day mature psychological thrillers that purports to work so damned well because of the fact that "it could happen!" Even a deep, dark skeptic might get completely Creeped by the original The Exorcist, while the most devout of believers who can suspend their disbelief like a pendulum would still give a holly-jolly "YEAH RIGHT" to such fare as End of Days! Somewhere in the middle is director Taylor Hackford's The Devil's Advocate, an ambitious, well photographed and fairly deep movie that somehow still comes across as a bit overlong and, at times, over the top. It's a mixed bag, but one balanced quite a bowl more toward the smiles on the old enjoy-o-meter!

Keanu Reeves leads the cast as a Southern Lawyer of varying accent named Kevin Lomax. Though he's quite accustomed to representing the absolute dregs of humanity in court, he's managed to have never lost a case. His incredibly hot, and erstwhile naked, wife Mary Ann (Charlize Theron) couldn't be happier, and neither could his clients. His church-going mommy (played by Judith Ivey), however, is worried about the boy's soul.

It's at this point that Lomax's latest case catches the eyeballs of a big fat hunk-a hunk-a burnin' law firm in Da Big Apple, and the Kevster is as excited as Commentator Frank Defore after a sarcastic Super Bowl diatribe! After a brief trial period (no pun intended, podnuh) Lomax is working in full force for Al Pacino's John Milton (obvious pun intended there, podnuh). Quicker than you can say John Grisham, Lomax is rubbing elbows with big-wig lawyers like Jeffrey Jones' Eddie Barzoon and Connie Nielsen's erstwhile naked Christabella Andreoli, and he's defending high-roller clients like Delroy Lindo's voodoo millionaire (!) Phillipe Moyez and Craig T. Nelson's Donald Trump Trumper Alex Cullen!
Kev and the Dev... with a MAJOR hottie!

Meanwhile Lomax is getting more and more distant and his Mary Ann is getting more and more depressed to the point of complete paranoid despondency. Something is wrong in their new, perfect house, and although she's been rubbing elbows and breasts with big-wig lawyers' wives like Tamara Tunie's erstwhile naked Jackie Heath, Mary Ann is convinced that there's something creepy and evil in her creeping malaise!

But what is it? Well, in case the title is completely and complexly lost on you, it has to do with just who this John Milton is and just who this Florida Advocate is working for. It's striking how gradually and surprisingly The Firm turns into The Omen in The Devil's Advocate, and it's all done in a subtle and gruelingly paced manner.

However, once the proverbial cat is out of the bag (again... the title ruins it anyway), this film shows its plot holes, and even (make that especially) the ultra-reliable actor Al Pacino turns into a cartoonish combo of the Joker and Hannibal Lecter!

Hackford seems to know how to make a movie worth watching and his expansive lens and tasteful use of special effects is both exciting and disturbing. However, Hackford is doing his damnedest with a swiss-cheesed story, and he attempts to plug each hole with a bait-and-switch moment of shock value, a consciousness grabbing line of blasphemy, an over-the-top moment of acting, an intestine-moving slice of special effects (including work by Rick Baker) or an appreciated wave of gratuitous nudity.

Not that I could take too much issue with the lovely Charlize Theron! Further, Theron's acting is damned good and worth a look. It's not surprising that Charlize went on to win an Oscar for Monster, or that Hackford went on to be nominated for directing Ray! However, The Devil's Advocate is much more of a popcorn "Horror Flick" in the vein of Rosemary's Baby or The Witches of Eastwick than it is the model for modern classicism. Make no mistake, this is a very good film and well worth your time to watch (especially if you get all the in-jokes)... but is it quite The Exorcist? No. And what is?

Three and One Half Stars out of Five for The Devil's Advocate! I like it! I like it a lot, and in brief moments of clarity I actually liked Keanu "Whoa" Reeves' uneven acting. Check it out, ignore the flaws, pop some corn and just have a scary ride. Sometimes, that's just what the Doctorino ordered. Do I see a Streak-a-comin'? Hmmm! Maybe we can get Linda Blair to get all nakey in a new Exorcist film! Because that last one... Fie!



Plot holes? Throw Nudity at it!
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The Devil's Advocate (1997) reviewed by J.C. Mašek III who is responsible for the content of this review and for his the fact that he hasn't missed attending Catholic Church (once a week) in over a decade!
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