I was prepared to like this movie better than I did. I like Robert Downey, Jr. Also Robert Duvall is great (he got an Supporting Actor Oscar nomination). But…
It's very long, 2 hours and 21 minutes, and it obviously doesn't need to be.
Mr. Downey plays high-powered Chicago defense attorney Hank Palmer. He specializes in getting his obviously guilty clients acquitted by Whatever Means Necessary, but that's the (insanely well-paid) job. Only problem: his marriage has fallen apart, probably due to his neglect. He has a cute precocious daughter.
And then his small-town Indiana mother dies. He's been estranged from his family for years, but goes back for the funeral. He's immediately at odds with "The Judge", his father, played by the aforementioned Mr. Duvall. The Judge is a hard-nosed lock-em-upper. There are also two brothers: Glen (Vincent D'Onofrio) a once-promising athlete now relegated to managing a tire store, and Dale, mentally challenged, obsessed with filming everything that goes on. (And when I say "filming", that's literal 8mm stuff. Can you even get that developed anywhere?)
Obviously, Hank wants to vamoose back to the big city ASAP. But—oops—fate intervenes when the Judge is credibly accused of intentionally using his Caddy to run down a miscreant just out of the slammer. Obviously, Hank has to come to the Judge's defense. Which involves staying in Indiana for… well, it seems like forever.