19 August 2017 | Michael_Elliott
Flawed But Entertaining "B" Movie
Physical Evidence (1989)
*** (out of 4)
Joe Paris (Burt Reynolds) is a disgraced detective who is picked up on a murder charge. Clear evidence is in his room that he committed the murder but he was so drunk that he can't remember a thing. Public defender Jenny Hudson (Theresa Russell) fights to get the case thinking she can save the man but before long her life is in danger as there's much more going on than she originally thought.
If you're looking for a hard-hitting courtroom drama then I'd highly recommend INHERIT THE WIND. If you're looking for an "A" quality Reynolds film then I'd recommend DELIVERANCE. If you're looking for any of those things or any sort of art then you're not going to find it here but at the same time as long as you don't take the film too seriously you could get some mild entertainment out of this. There's no question that by this time Reynolds wasn't a "A" list star anymore and this is the perfect example of a "B" movie.
I call this a "B" movie because the material isn't very strong. I mean, everything pretty much falls into place without too much logic and the ending seems more like something from Scooby-Doo more than anything else. The entire murder rap has countless bad guys brought into it and any of them could have been guilty so this too works against any sort of logic. I'd even argue that by the film presenting Reynolds as being innocent, it takes away possible drama because it would have played out better if the viewer didn't know if he was guilty or not.
With that said, I still found myself enjoying PHYSICAL EVIDENCE thanks in large part to the cast. I wouldn't say Reynolds gives a great performance here but he's at least entertaining and this fits well with the "aftermath" of some of the rough cops he played earlier in his career. He's certainly believable in the role and I thought it was a good fit for him. Russell is good in her role as the woman trying to get him off, although the screenplay doesn't do much with her character and the forced attempted love story is trash. Ned Beatty is always good and he adds some nice entertainment value as does Kay Lenz, Kenneth Welsh and Tom O'Brien. Married With Children... fans will enjoy seeing Ted McGinley here, although his character is yet another weak one.
As you can tell, there's a lot of negative things about this picture but it still kept me entertained throughout. I think it's best that you turn your brain off and just watch this on a boring day whenever you just want some light entertainment. This certainly isn't a masterpiece or a very good picture but if you're a fan of Reynolds then you should enjoy it.