“Misconduct” features an all-star cast headlined by Oscar winners Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins, but the heavy lifting is done by top-billed Josh Duhamel.
Duhamel, known for starring in four of the “Transformers” films and the long-running NBC series “Las Vegas” that co-starred James Caan, plays ambitious New Orleans attorney Ben Cahill.
Cahill is out to get pharmaceutical billionaire tycoon Arthur Denning (Hopkins) after he received stolen files from ex-girlfriend Emily Hynes (Malin Akerman). The files reveal Denning’s criminal behavior during drug trials that ultimately cost people their lives.
Cahill pitches a class action lawsuit to his boss Charles Abrams (Pacino) who responds with the edict of “Get a nine-figure settlement or a new job.”
Meanwhile, Cahill’s home life is in turmoil following a miscarriage and his wife Charlotte (Alice Eve) is depressed and, like her husband, has given herself up to her work in an attempt to cover up her unhappiness.
There is an interesting story in here somewhere and it would have been a great candidate for a 10-episode series on Netflix or Amazon Prime, but the script by Adam Mason and Simon Boyes has so many plotholes and coincidences that the viewer is inclined to rewind a few scenes to see if they missed something and openly borrows from several movies, most notably, the 1990 Harrison Ford classic “Presumed Innoncent” that was based on the novel by Scott Turow. There’s an entire subplot involving a kidnapping and featuring Julia Stiles as a security specialist and another with a dying assassin on a motorcycle that could have filled entire episodes.
Shintaro Shimosawa’s shaky directorial debut also bounces back and forth between going for an Alfred Hitchcock vibe and an episode of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”
Cinema treasures Pacino and Hopkins are both on autopilot in what appears to be simply a case of taking the money and mailing it in and Akerman and Eve are both wasted in small roles.
Overall, “Misconduct” is a case of what might have been.
“Misconduct” is currently available for streaming on IMDbTV, PlutoTV and Plex.
MISCONDUCT (Rated R)
Scale of 1-10: 4