The plot starts out like this: wealthy pharmaceutical CEO Arthur Denning (played by Anthony Hopkins, spotting some mid-life crisis slick hair) is under investigation for one of his drugs killing people. Although his immense wealth allows him to take care of any legal troubles, this frustrates his much younger girlfriend Emily (Malin Akerman). Enter Ben (Duhamel), a shady lawyer who litigates divorce cases for the law-firm headed by Pacino's character- Abrams. His marriage to Charlotte (a constantly cold Alice Eve) is in a rut, while he desperately wants to make partner. Coincidentally, he used to date Emily, which makes him the perfect candidate to be used as a pawn to blackmail Denning.
It's not the performances that make Misconduct a bad movie. It's that the soap opera-like screenplay from Simon Boyes and Adam Mason which doesn't make sense. Ben receives incriminating information against Denning from Emily. That should be a red flag, because clearly she wants to use him to teach a lesson to her wealthy boyfriend. This doesn't stop Ben from taking his chance to win a big case. He presents the evidence to his boss, and we finally hear Pacino monologue about “what it takes to be a good lawyer in this town.” The Godfather star does what must be his best impression of Colonel Sanders, as he sits at his big brown lawyer desk, preaching about being a “good southern lawyer.”
When Emily winds up dead, putting Ben in between revealing his involvement with her and making his big score, the ridiculousness starts to pile on. When a characters like Byung-hun Lee's (I Saw the Devil) weakly named “The Accountant” shows up to threaten Ben, it is as if an entirely different movie is taking place. And when Ben and Charlotte survive his attack, I could not stop laughing when Ben leaves his shot wife at the hospital, so he can continue his pursuit somewhere else. This is why most of the direction from Shimosawa, whose essential move is to shift the camera out of frame left-to-right, feels like an exercise to practice the art of film, while actors just chew up scenes.
Overall, Misconduct ventures into the humorous, when the intention is for the dramatic. While last year's similar film Heist was a sad performance for a great actor like Robert De Niro, I don't think the performances from Hopkins and Pacino will hurt their career's here. I just think a movie like this should be taken to court for negligence.
Written by: Leo Brady
STARRING: JOSH DUHAMEL; MALIN AKERMAN; AL PACINO; ANTHONY HOPKINS; ALICE EVE
DIRECTED BY: SHINTARO SHIMOSAWA
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 1 STAR (Out of 4)
This is the moment in cinema where acting legends Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino begin taking movie roles for the cash, and not for the artistic merit. Although that moment may have been years ago, the lame-ass titled movie Misconduct, which has Hopkins and Pacino in roles that are essentially the same character, is not worth their effort's and charisma. Director Shintaro Shimosawa's first film is undoubtedly terrible, as it morphs into an exercise of throwing as many different types of tricks into a bag, while Josh Duhamel attempts to carry the film that never earns his effort, or anyone else's for that matter. Misconduct earns a paycheck for all the actors involved, while audiences will want their money back.