I thought I had seen most of the movies Ron Howard has directed, but this one must have sneaked by me, sandwiched between Far and Away and Apollo 13. Most of it struck me as pretty routine, which is not to say un-enjoyable. Michael Keaton is the sort of work-driven man who should never marry and have a family, since work will always come first in his life. Naturally, he is married, and his wife is eight and three quarters months pregnant. (Also naturally, her delivery comes early and she is hemorrhaging). He lies, he breaks his promises, he does dirty tricks, all in the name of getting The Story.
The story is an important one, I admit, concerning two black teens wrongly accused of killing two white businessmen sitting in their car. But my feeling is that when your wife is pregnant, she is Priority One, no exceptions.
Glenn Close is the penny-pinching editor who refuses to Stop the presses! when he comes up with new evidence. They get into an actual knock-down drag-out over the print run, which has already gone to over 200,000 copies. What will the headline be? GOTCHA! Or INNOCENT! (All headlines in this New York Daily News-type paper end in exclamation points.) In the end, everybody does the Right Thing, and we all go to bed happy, knowing that there will always be crusading newspaper reporters around to protect … well, maybe there were twenty years ago, but in another five years there may be no newspapers at all as we know them, only the sometimes frighteningly loose-with-the-facts Internet. Where is Hildy Johnson when we need her?