Ever tried your darndest to avoid hearing about the plots twists of a movie that you're planning to see, only to have some unthinking clod give it away?
The makers of "Double Jeopardy" suffer from that problem, except it's one of their own making, because the trailers that have been airing for weeks in theaters and on television pretty much reveal all the relevant twists and turns in the film.
Nothing happens to Ashley Judd, a wife who is framed for the murder of her husband, or Tommy Lee Jones, as the parole officer who pursues her, that the trailers haven't let the viewer in on already. Worse yet, the screenplay and Bruce Beresford's direction don't provide for enough suspense to lift the movie out of the studio-inflicted doldrums.
That's a shame, for Paramount's rush to sell the film spoils an interesting premise: If someone is convicted of a murder that didn't take place, can she, upon release, find the "victim" and really kill that person without legal consequence, because the Constitution protects a person from being found guilty twice of the same crime?
Jones, who won an Oscar as the obsessed federal marshal chasing an escaped convict in 1993's "The Fugitive," plows familiar ground in "Double Jeopardy." Though the script fails to tax his great faculties, Jones brings a certain spark to a limited role.
Judd, meanwhile, is quite exceptional as a woman wronged by the judicial system and scorned by her husband, coolly played by Bruce Greenwood. It's a role that, frankly, only requires her to be alternately sad or angry, but Judd, who is alternately luminous and frumpy, attacks the part with strength and vengeance.
It's just too bad that you can see everything coming from a mile away.
Starring Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones, Bruce Greenwood, Annabeth Gish
Directed by Bruce Beresford
Released by Paramount Pictures
Rated R (for language, sexual themes, violence)
Running time 106 minutes
Sun score **