November 21, 1997 at 05:00 AM EST

Trial and Error (1997)

type
Movie
genre
Comedy
performer
Jeff Daniels, Michael Richards, Jessica Steen, Austin Pendleton, Charlize Theron, Rip Torn, Alexandra Wentworth
director
Jonathan Lynn
distributor
New Line Cinema
author
Sara Bernstein, Gregory Bernstein
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
We gave it a B-

You can just hear the pitch meeting for this misbegotten farce: ”It?s a cross between My Cousin Vinny and Dumb and Dumber, with Seinfeld‘s Kramer!” The fact that Trial and Error — in which a lawyer and his actor buddy are forced to switch identities — bombed in theaters demonstrates how unappealing such a shortsighted mishmash can be. But on video, where you can fast-forward through the lame slapstick, it?s easier to appreciate: A surprisingly sweet romantic subplot between Jeff Daniels and Charlize Theron (The Devil?s Advocate) displays his puppy-dog charm to full advantage. Error though this film may be, it’s less of a trial than you might think. B-

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