Conspiracy Theory

Bomb Rating: 

Following his amazingly original performance as a man-turned-nutcase in "Mad Max" and "The Road Warrior," his turn as a nutty police officer in "Lethal Weapon 1, 2, and 3," a nutty cowboy in "Maverick," a nutty medieval Scotsman in "Braveheart," and a concerned father-turned-nutty vigilante in "Ransom," Mel Gibson returns to the silver screen to take on his most challenging role of all-time: a nutty conspiracy theorist in "Conspiracy Theory."

Yes, that's right: Jerry Fletcher (Gibson) isn't all there. He thinks people are after him; he has a lock on his refrigerator; he has an escape hatch in his apartment. Naturally this means there's someone like District Attorney Alice Sutton (Julia Roberts) just waiting to be charmed by him. Never mind that real-life Jerry Fletchers are smelly, slobbering imbeciles who are armed to the teeth and have houses full of "cousins" because they insist that the distinctions between daughter, sister and mother are a false construct propagated by New York liberals (Woody Allen notwithstanding).

This attraction is basically at the heart of Richard ("Lethal Weapon) Donner's film. In other words, what totally preposterous excuse can we create to get Mel and Julia together. Contrary to the previews there's a lot more to this lunacy than just Mel being inexplicably nutty.

Since Richard Donner doesn't have a creative bone in his body, "Conspiracy Theory" is mostly one big jumble of scenes ripped off from other films. In a span of about five minutes during which Jerry bites the nose of his nemesis, Dr. Jonas (Patrick Stewart), Donner manages to rip-off "Chinatown," "The Manchurian Candidate," "Marathon Man" and "Die Hard." I suppose if theft is relative it beats stealing from "Cannonball Run" and "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh."

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