October 01, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

Double Jeopardy

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
105 minutes
performer
Tommy Lee Jones, Ashley Judd
director
Bruce Beresford
distributor
Paramount Home Video
genre
Drama, Mystery and Thriller
We gave it a D+

Libby Parsons (Ashley Judd), wrongly convicted of murdering her wily, art-collecting husband (Bruce Greenwood), finds out while in prison that her dead spouse is alive, raising their son, and living with her friend (Annabeth Gish). A helpful fellow con suggests that Libby serve her time, then kill the SOB for real, since she can’t be tried for the same crime twice. I like the noir setup of Double Jeopardy and I love Libby’s spa-like lockup, where the lithe inmate spends quality time toning up in preparation for her superwomanly expedition — to confront her evil husband and reclaim custody of her child.

But everything else about this toothless thriller — directed, in a departure from the romanticism of his ”Driving Miss Daisy,” by Bruce Beresford (with particular attention to the atmospheric scenery of Washington state and New Orleans) — feels like a strained reworking of ”The Fugitive.” And that includes Tommy Lee Jones’ performance as a growly, drawly, drink-weakened parole officer who takes one look at dainty, well-toned Libby and, out of all his hard-boiled cases, announces, ”I’m gonna have trouble with you.” Well of course he is: This parolee has been weight-training and putting highlights in her hair, and she’s a mom. So look out, buster.

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