Iron Man's Tony Stark — sorry, Robert Downey, Jr. — shows us that beneath the tin suit and the wisecracks there beats a heart of goop and cliche. Downey plays Hank Palmer, a big-city lawyer who brags that innocent people can't afford him. But oh, no, his wife is leaving him because he's totally married to his job, he doesn't really know his daughter, and on top of that, his mom just died. Time for yet another middle-aged rich white dude to go back to his small-town roots, reconnect with the girl he left behind, and learn some valuable life lessons along the way. The drama, such as it is, comes from the titular judge, who is also Hank's cranky old Dad (Robert Duvall). His Honor was awfully hard on wayward teen Hank way back when (BUT WHY?), and now he stands accused of taking out an old enemy on the day of his wife's funeral. Storm clouds gather! A dimwit brother accidentally splices scenes of a family tragedy into old Christmas movies! The past is dug up and shouted about! Downey does his doe-eyed best to make you play along, and the writing picks up a bit about halfway through. But it's just not worth the 140 minutes. (2014) — Matthew Lickona
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