“The Judge” is a straight-ahead, old-fashioned, well-written and well-acted melodrama about a snarky, hotshot big city lawyer (Robert Downey Jr.) who returns to his small Indiana town for his mother’s funeral and ends up defending his stern, know-it-all, son-of-a-bitch estranged father (who happens to be the town judge) from a hit-and-run murder charge. Downey is perfect as the cocky Chicago lawyer (he’s a toned-down Tony Stark) and Robert Duvall doesn’t have to stretch much as the father who barks orders in place of giving love. Vincent D’Onofrio is cast against type as Downey’s less-than-courageous older brother and Vera Farmiga (who one can never get enough of) is radiant as Downey’s high school sweetheart with a 20 year torch. It’s predicable and a little long — but ever so enjoyable — gulp — adult fare. Vitals: Director: David Dobkin. Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard, Leighton Meester, Ken Howard, Emma Tremblay, Balthazar Getty, David Krumholtz, Sarah Lancaster, Grace Zabriskie, Denis O’Hare. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: R, 141 min., Drama, Box office gross: $46.212 million, Warner. Extras: “Getting Deep With Dax Shepard” featurette. Blu-ray adds commentary by director David Dobkin, “Inside The Judge” featurette, deleted scenes.
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