The Denzel Show

Denzel Washington is a southern sheriff with a lot of trouble on his hands. Fact is, it would be easy to spoil the delicate plotting of the film by delving into the details, so I'll just go as far as the TV spots have - there's been a serious crime, and a lot of things are pointing at poor suffering Denzel as the culprit.

Outside of a fairly lame title, the elements of this thriller all come together quite well - twists, turns, sex, violence, oddball characters, tough cookies, one-liners - everything you expect in just the right amounts. And then there's the humor...

In a way, I feel like Out of Time is almost like a pilot for a sitcom. It plays a bit like a Dukes of Hazzard episode (perhaps I'm giving that show too much credit - I was quite young when I saw it last). Much of the film is spent with Denzel trying to trick people one way or another over details that, except for their particular implications here, would ordinarily be quite trivial. When Denzel breaks into a hotel room as one of the opening scenes of Legally Blonde was playing on the room's television, I had to keep from laughing. Almost any studio film is going to have its share of comedic moments, but we have a slightly unusual, but enjoyable balance in this picture.

I wanted to give this one a better rating, but the more I think about it, I realize we only have part of the picture here. The script concentrates so much on the moment to moment happenings that we lose too much of the bigger picture. There characters are painted very well for having so little information, but at some point we have to ask why we should care so much - and the answer ends up having too much to do with it being Denzel than with his character.

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