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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » A Slight Case of Murder
A Slight Case of Murder
Warner Bros. // Unrated // September 26, 2006
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Scott Weinberg | posted September 19, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie

Steven Schachter's A Slight Case of Murder feels precisely like the fluffy little TV movie that it is -- but judging the flick on its own merits, it's still a pretty amusing little confection. Plus it offers the brilliant William H. Macy, who's generally relegated to supporting roles, offering an affably offbeat lead performance.

Based on the novel by Donald Westlake, Murder tells a simple story: A mildly arrogant and generally unpleasant film critic accidentally murders his girlfriend, and instead of calling the cops ASAP, he decides to hit the road and cover his tracks. Bad move.

Less than a day later, Terry's life is upended by a tough cop (Adam Arkin), a devious detective (James Cromwell), another girlfriend (Felicity Huffman), and the tough cop's horny wife (Julia Campbell). At every turn the clueless critic digs himself into a deeper hole, while always maintaining the belief that he'll get away with his crimes, no problem.

Unfortunately for Terry, a lifetime of movie-watching has not prepared him for a "real life" murder investigation, and his every attempt to extricate himself from the process only ends up wedging him down into deeper trouble. Oh, and A Slight Case of Murder is mainly a comedy, so forget about all the noir-ish plot threads and settle in for something more in a Neil Simon-ish vein.

Paper-thin and entirely disposable, A Slight Case of Murder succeeds on the back of Mr. Macy alone. (Well, Macy and his castmates, of course.) With a lesser cast this flick would run out of steam less than 15 minutes in -- and with an actor less likeable than William H. Macy in the lead role, the thing could have been an unwatchable nightmare.

The DVD

Video: The film is presented in a matted widescreen (anamorphic) transfer. Flick looks pretty darn good for a 1999 TV production!

Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. No frills but solid enough.

Extras: Nada.

Final Thoughts

Macy, Arkin, Huffman, and Cromwell are clearly having a good time with this amiable little farce noir. Fortunately they're able to transfer much of that fun over to the viewer.

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