I’ve fallen in love again with Julia Roberts. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie with her in it but I’m glad to see her again. Conspiracy Theory is a movie that doesn’t go far enough on anything. It doesn’t have enough action to be an action film, it doesn’t have enough thrills to be a thriller, and it doesn’t have enough laughs to be a comedy. But, it does have Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts, and at the helm of the production Richard Donner.
Gibson’s last outing with Donner was the failed Maverick. This time around though, the film is enough to draw a crowd and the story enough to hold our attention.
Jerry Fletcher (Mel Gibson) is a paranoid man who thinks that there is a conspiracy behind everything. People are trying to kill the President with a major earthquake caused by the Space Shuttle. Fluorine in our water is there not only to keep our teeth white, but also to help loosen us up and make us easily controlled by the government. And the best one yet, Oliver Stone is just a misinformation guy helping to cover up government conspiracies. Jerry is also a little strange and has flashbacks while driving his cab. He has a deep infatuation with Alice Sutton (Julia Roberts) who is a lawyer for the Justice Department. Jerry’s apartment is lined with aluminum foil, his door is quadrupled locked, his refrigerator is locked, and even his cans have locks. And in his free time Jerry likes to write a newsletter named Conspiracy Theory. It’s subscriber base? Five.
Now that Jerry has published another issue, it seems that someone is out to get him. There must have been a theory in there that struck a nerve, something that is true.
Julia Roberts gives a good performance, as Jerry’s love interest. I loved Mel Gibson’s performance, but it is Roberts who steals the show with her smile. Gibson’s performance is almost on par with his performance in the Lethal Weapon series (which he also did with Richard Donner.) His character is nuts and sometimes very unpredictable. But Jerry is a loveable guy also. Patrick Steward plays the suspicious good and bad Doctor Jonas. Steward gives as good as a performance he can with the material that he is given. And he actually does make for a good protagonist. Donner, who is not really a very visual director, does a nice job with this film. The buildings look ominous, the rain even worse, and the bad guys all faceless. The movie does run a little long, but it is bearable.
I recommend Conspiracy Theory for all of those who are interested in a, though uninspired, action romantic comedy thriller. It’s hard to get all of those genres into one film, and Conspiracy Theory shows that it is. But, Conspiracy Theory does not fall under the weight of it all. When there is action, it is well staged. When it needs to thrill it certainly does. When it wants to make us laugh, it does it. And when there is an emotional moment, it makes us choke up.