leave a comment --Steve Simels
A true-life David and Goliath story, this entertaining — if predictable — vehicle for the blinding smile that is Julia Roberts is also essentially NORMA RAE brought up to date, which means the beleaguered title character, a twice-divorced mother
of three with scant prospects, is a funny, foul-mouthed force of nature who always lands on her feet. We discover this fairly early, as Erin (Roberts) guilt-trips lawyer Ed Masry (the amazing eyebrows that are Albert Finney) into giving her a job, despite her complete lack of legal expertise.
While working for Masry, Erin stumbles upon some medical records placed, mysteriously, in certain real estate files. Confused, she convinces Ed to let her investigate and discovers a cover-up: Contaminated water is the cause of devastating illnesses suffered by the residents of a small local town.
With the help of her too-good-to-be-true biker boyfriend (Aaron Eckhart, a far cry from IN THE COMPANY OF MEN); the initially reluctant Ed, who'd been planning to retire; and the initally reluctant townspeople, who don't believe they have any real recourse, Erin winds up participating in one of
the largest ($333 million) successful lawsuits in U.S. history. There are a couple of bogus red herrings en route to the never-in-doubt happy ending, but ultimately the story seems rather slight. That's partly because a good vs. evil saga needs interesting villains, and all this movie can come up
with is a briefly glimpsed bunch of weasely Pacific Gas and Electric lawyers. Still, Erin is a great character, and Roberts — who seems to be having the time of her life — more than runs with her.