Ken Tucker
September 20, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

TV Show
Current Status
In Season
Brendan Fraser, Caroline Kava, Martin Sheen, Mark Metcalf, Peter Friedman
Crime, Drama

We gave it a D

An innocent young man (Brendan Fraser) is accused of a murder he says he didn’t commit. He’s convicted on flimsy evidence, so his foster parents (Martin Sheen and Born on the Fourth of July‘s Caroline Kava) launch their own inquiry, eventually amassing enough information to warrant a new trial.

Guilty is based on a true story, and its challenging-the-legal-system theme could have been interesting. But in an apparent effort to avoid being melodramatic, Guilty is plodding and dull, refusing to make vivid characters of its protagonists and burying the drama in tedious courtroom scenes. When the movie isn’t dull, it’s full of unbelievable dialogue. Even if Sheen’s real-life counterpart did shout at a lawyer, ”Your job is supposed to be about winning justice, not just winning!” the line is too neatly turned to be convincing as a spontaneous outburst. Sheen is solid as a crusader, but the whole movie is slack, as predictable as a Jake and the Fatman episode. D

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