Robert Redford only acted in four films in the 1980s, turning his energies instead to directing, activism, and his Sundance Institute for young film-makers. Hardly surprising, if "Legal Eagles" is representative of the scripts he was being offered at the time.
Sandwiched between "Ghostbusters" and "Twins", this was a rare flop for director Ivan Reitman, while Debra Winger's career never quite recovered. But while the picture falls well short of the Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn comedies it seeks to emulate, it's slick and good-looking enough to while away a few undemanding hours.
Redford plays Tom Logan, an Assistant District Attorney who becomes embroiled in a case of art theft and murder involving Chelsea Reardon (Daryl Hannah), a troubled beauty who saw her father, a famous artist, die in a fire when she was a child. Trading quips with Chelsea's bossy defence lawyer, Laura Kelly (Winger), Tom finds himself up to his neck in conspiracy, fraud and arson - not to mention a crooked art dealer (Terence Stamp) who'll stop at nothing to get his hands on some priceless missing paintings.
Inspired by the scandal surrounding the estate of artist Mark Rothko, "Legal Eagles" tries to be all things to all people (romantic comedy, courtroom drama, action-packed thriller), ending up significantly less than the sum of its parts. Redford glides through it all effortlessly, but his 24-carat charisma is the only thing keeping Reitman's flick afloat. The star would enjoy even less success with his next project, the critically reviled "Havana".
"Legal Eagles" is on BBC2 at 10.35pm, Saturday 3rd March 2001.