McConaughey shines as scuzzy lawyer

The Lincoln Lawyer Lionsgate Rating: 14A 118 minutes

In The Lincoln Lawyer Matthew McConaughey plays a tough, smart lawyer who successfully defends low life clients and is well paid for doing it. Turns out it’s often quite useful to have motorcycle gangs for clients.

When McConaughey is not in the courthouse or spending time with his young daughter, he works out of the back of his chauffeur-driven Lincoln.

One day he is approached to represent a spoiled rich boy (Ryan Phillippe) charged with beating up a prostitute. Phillippe insists he is innocent and expects McConaughey to get him off, but McConaughey smells a rat: why does this rich boy want a bottom-feeding lawyer like him?

Not surprisingly, it turns out there’s a very nasty reason why he wants him and it soon turns into a battle of wits between lawyer and client.

While the plot doesn’t always hold water, there are some nice twists and turns, making this a better than average courtroom drama/thriller. It’s helped by a superior supporting cast with Marisa Tomei as McConaughey’s ex-wife, William H. Macy as his private investigator, Josh Lucas as the D.A. and Frances Fisher as Phillippe’s wealthy mom.

It’s nice to see McConaughey playing a disreputable, cocksure lawyer instead of the one-note hunks he often plays in fluffy romantic comedies like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.

This movie comes from a novel by crime journalist turned novelist Michael Connelly and some reviewers are saying The Lincoln Lawyer is the first of a series based on the novels.

Rating: four deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.