Double Jeopardy

To kill and kill again

Well, I’ll go see anything with Ashley Judd, but throw in Tommy Lee Jones and you’ve got a must-see combination. Not that the picture’s any kind of classic, but the juxtaposition of those two faces is just amazing. Miss Ashley gets naked again in this one, to the chagrin of her puritanical family. Thank god it’s not in a love scene with Jones.

Hiding behind the so-so title is a fun little thriller. Ashley’s married to charming and handsome Bruce Greenwood. He buys her a sailboat for her birthday – did I mention they’re rich, too? After the aforementioned nude scene, Judd wakes up with blood all over and Bruce gone. She’s so shocked, she immediately commits thriller boo-boo #1 by picking up the murder weapon just as the cops show up.

Because hubby was about to lose the fortune and had just taken out a hefty insurance policy, Judd gets railroaded into prison. It’s all a huge frame, of course, but Ashley takes her time figuring it out. When she does, she goes into Rocky workout mode, doing tae bo in the rain and all that jazz to show off her grim determination. A fellow inmate has clued her in: since she’s already been tried for the crime, she can kill off her husband without further consequence, if she can get to him. ‘Couse, they don’t want Ashley to lose any sympathy, so this never turns into a straight revenge flick – we’re assured that Judd just wants her son back, that’s all.

Winning a parole, she’s set free into the strict governorship of Tommy Lee’s halfway house for naughty girls. Turning up a lead, she goes AWOL, and Jones sets out to search every doghouse, henhouse and outhouse in the state to find her.

The whole gimmick of the film is we all want to see what happens when Judd finds that dirty rotten Greenwood – will she pull the trigger, or won’t she? I think there was a Sally Field film with much the same premise, but that movie wasn’t half as fun as this one. The appeal here is the presence and personality of the stars, the steadily moving pace, and a little bit of outlandish derring-do – as in the scene where Greenwood puts Judd into a death trap instead of just killing her when he had a chance. But then, maybe cold-blooded murder’s not his style.

In all, a neat and enjoyable thriller that doesn’t pretend to be great drama.

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