Did I not already see this film a little over a year ago, when it was called "A Civil Action" and starred John Travolta instead of Julia Roberts? Oh wait, my mistake: "A Civil Action" was the story of a lawyer suing a corporation for poisoning a town's water, while "Erin Brockovich" is the story of an unemployed, badly-dressed woman suing a corporation for poisoning a town's water. Completely different.
Actually, Erin's not really the one suing the corporation -- she's just working for a scraggly lawyer named Ed Masry (Albert Finney) who's suing the corporation. As much as this is the story of a town getting justice, it's the story of a woman who reinvents herself by doing good. It's one of those stories everybody's got to love, right? Wrong.
Look, I feel bad for people with diseases or whose kids are born with two heads, but when every single person in your town comes down with cancer or genital warts the size of chipmunks, and the industrial plant up the block suddenly starts insisting there's nothing wrong with the water, don't you start to think that maybe -- just maybe -- there's something wrong with the damn water? Are people really that naïve? Personally, if I find out that some big company has given me an incurable disease because they poisoned my water to increase "shareholder value," that company's executives had better seriously consider wearing flak jackets to their next board meeting.
You might keep an eye out for the real Erin Brockovich, who plays a waitress in a short scene at the beginning of the film. She serves the fake Erin and her two fake kids some breakfast with a look of abject horror that's not exactly apropos for a waitress. I believe it's called the "if I knew Julia Roberts was going to be playing me in the movie version of my life, I would have just drunk the water too" look.
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