Michael Keaton plays a staunchly decent cop who’s as close to his longtime partner (Anthony LaPaglia) as he is to his fashion designer wife (Rene Russo). When widowed LaPaglia gets killed in an heroic attempt to save a woman’s life, Keaton and Russo take in his three orphaned little girls and decide they want to keep them.
But the authorities seem rather eager to take them away and Keaton’s crowded digs can’t accommodate a family, so he winds up on a wrong-side-of-the law stunt to come up with enough money to be a hero at home.
The drug-dealer villains and inner-city skirmishes here are standard issue, and pic’s basic parameters are only a cut above telefilm fare. Still, it’s the skill with which the writer-director works the audience into the palm of his hand that makes this a crowd-pleaser.
Keaton demonstrates remarkable range and dexterity, giving his best performance since Clean and Sober , and soulful LaPaglia projects a toned-down version of the same true-hearted qualities that made him so winning in Betsy’s Wed ding .