Review: ‘Jury Duty’

While the idea of dropping Pauly Shore into a courtroom setting may have possessed some promise, turning the movie into a half-parody of the O.J. Simpson proceedings is utterly wrong headed, since nothing could equal the amount of media skewering and jokes that attend the trial on a daily basis.

While the idea of dropping Pauly Shore into a courtroom setting may have possessed some promise, turning the movie into a half-parody of the O.J. Simpson proceedings is utterly wrong headed, since nothing could equal the amount of media skewering and jokes that attend the trial on a daily basis.

Beyond that, Jury Duty comes off like a slapdash effort of almost absurd excess, with no effort whatsoever made to rein in Shore, a non-actor who comes dangerously close here to approaching the ranks of non-comics. You know you’re in trouble when the movie’s best and most inspired moment involves bombastic ESPN sports announcer Dick Vitale in a cameo as a Court TV-like commentator.

Shore plays Tommy, a sleep-till-noon layabout left suddenly in need of shelter when his mother (Shelley Winters) motors off to Vegas in their trailer. Tommy decides the best solution would be to get empanelled on a long, sequestered trial and winds up on a high-profile case involving a serial killer, who the entire jury assumes to be guilty

In a 12 Angry Men riff, Tommy conspires to prolong the deliberations to maintain his posh lifestyle – much to the chagrin of his fellow jurors, including the obligatory babe to be won over (Tia Carrere, looking pretty good even in mousy librarian garb).

Director John Fortenberry, making his feature debut after helming numerous HBO specials, exhibits just how creatively bankrupt the filmmakers are by resorting to several musical montages, apparently just to pad the duration to feature length.

Jury Duty

Production

Tri-Star/Triumph. Director John Fortenberry; Producer Yoram Ben-Ami, Peter M. Lenkov; Screenplay Neil Tolkin, Barbara Williams, Samantha Adams; Camera Avi Karpick; Editor Stephen Semel; Music David Kitay; Art Director Deborah Raymond, Dorian Vernaccio

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1995. Running time: 86 MIN.

With

Pauly Shore Tia Carrere Stanley Tucci Brian Doyle-Murray Abe Vigoda Charles Napier
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