Double Jeopardy

In Double Jeopardy, a slavishly by-the-book suspense film that makes false advertising of the genre's name, Ashley Judd plays the wife of a financially unsound businessman (Bruce Greenwood) who mysteriously disappears during a sailing trip. Soon, Judd finds herself in prison for murder, but over the course of her stay, she finds that her best friend (Annabeth Gish) has disappeared with her son and a very-much-alive Greenwood. Upon her release, she sets off to find them, with crusty, drunken parole officer Tommy Lee Jones hot on her heels. But if you've seen one of Double Jeopardy's trailers or TV commercials, you know that already, just as you know that Judd and Jones eventually join forces in confronting Greenwood. You also know that the title refers to the fact that, having been previously convicted of murdering Greenwood, Judd can't be convicted again. What you don't know is that virtually nothing is made of the tacked-on titular gimmick, and that at one point Judd gets locked in a coffin. That's about it, although even without its reveal-all marketing campaign Double Jeopardy would seem as unpredictable and suspenseful as an episode of Scooby Doo. Both Judd and Jones (who really ought to consider a moratorium on roles in which he plays a tough law-enforcement officer pursuing an innocent fugitive) are clearly above the material, while director Bruce Beresford brings nothing but competence to the table.

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