|Josh Duhamel and Alice Eve|
New Orleans lawyer Ben Cahill (Josh Duhamel), feeling neglected by his busy nurse wife, Charlotte (Alice Eve of She's Out of My League), makes a date with an ex-girlfriend named Emily (Malin Akerman). Emily is the lover of possessive pharmaceutical giant Arthur Denning (Anthony Hopkins), who fiddled with the lab results of his drug Vypraxilin to get around the FDA, resulting in hundreds of deaths. Emily gives Ben confidential information that can help his firm win a major lawsuit against Denning; Ben's boss, Charles Abrahms (Al Pacino), agrees to go along with it. But, of course, there are major complications as well, including murder, and a handsome, dying Asian-American hit man (Byung-hun Lee of G. I. Joe: Retaliation) who shows up now and then ... Misconduct is aptly named, although there are many who will argue that it is the filmmakers who are guilty of same. The movie isn't dull, and it has a few interesting plot twists, but it becomes increasingly ridiculous as it goes along, and the ending probably had most people in the audience going "what the f--k?" There are some mildly clever ideas in the screenplay, but they are not well-executed, and the movie throws so many disparate scenes at the viewer that most people watching the flick will only be irritated and confused. Even when the damn thing is over there are still loose ends. (For instance, did the hit man take Vypraxilin himself?) This is the "Al Pacino" movie that notoriously made only $150 in the UK, but both he and Hopkins have just supporting roles. [One would think they would have called this an "Anthony Hopkins" movie in England, but despite Silence of the Lambs, Hopkins was never quite as big a star as Pacino.] Pacino is in his southern jive talk mode, which doesn't really work for his character, and his accent, as usual, comes and goes. Hopkins makes a better impression as his opponent and easily steals the movie. Josh Duhamel is quite effective in the lead role, although he may be way too calm in certain sequences. Malin Akerman makes an impression as the provocative Emily, but Alice Eve's every line and look seems heavily coached by the director, and she is generally unconvincing. Julia Stiles [The Omen] is much better as a private eye hired by Denning when his girlfriend is allegedly kidnapped. The final twist in this was already used in a well-known novel/movie of a few years ago in which it was equally predictable.
NOTE: For more about Al Pacino and his films, good and bad, see Al Pacino: In Films and On Stage by yours truly.
Verdict: Coherency is not this film's strong point. Maybe if it were a French film with sub-titles? **.