88 Minutes Jon Avnet

88 Minutes Jon Avnet
When it was released in theatres last April to thunderous apathy, several critics claimed that 88 Minutes was the worst movie Al Pacino had ever made. Considering that Pacino was also in Gigli, that’s quite a feat. Filmed in 2005, 88 Minutes is only now being released on North American DVD, a medium for which it is far better suited than theatres considering that its production values are only slightly more impressive than one of Steven Seagal’s lesser direct-to-video efforts. Pacino plays a curmudgeonly forensic psychiatrist whose testimony against the evil (and hammy) Neal McDonough sent the suspected rapist/murderer to jail despite the lack of any physical evidence. Before McDonough’s scheduled execution, Pacino receives a phone call saying that he has only 88 minutes to live, so it’s a race against the clock to find the assassin. Anyone who has seen more than one thriller will figure out most of the twists and turns before Pacino does. The cheesy script is packed with logic blunders both big (the action is supposed to take place within 88 minutes but the actual time elapsed is at least three or four hours) and small (doesn’t Pacino realize that cell phones have call display?). It’s fun to watch Pacino in anything but saddled with pedestrian direction and a bad dye job, even he looks tired. The DVD extras include an unremarkable alternate ending and a commentary by Jon Avnet. There’s also an interview with Pacino, which the DVD box describes as, I swear to God, "‘The Character Within’ — Al Pacino discusses what it takes to create the perfect character.” The seven-minute interview is mostly just Pacino describing the plot, but it’s worth watching for when he admits, "Some of the things that happen are almost illogical.” (Sony)