This sequel to 1990’s Emmy-winning TV movie The Incident finds Walter Matthau once again playing the rumpled, grumpy, wily lawyer Harmon Cobb. Set in the 1940s, Against Her Will finds Cobb trying to free a young woman (Bridgit Ryan) who has been committed to a mental institution — you got it — against her will.
Unfortunately, everything that was charming and eccentric about The Incident is phony and manipulative in Against Her Will. Matthau’s character has been idealized into a charismatic codger to whom people are instantly drawn. ”Most lawyers only care about rich people,” gushes the man who hires Cobb to rescue the imprisoned woman. ”You seem like you’re different from them somehow I have a feeling about you.” There’s also an embarrassingly corny subplot in which Susan Blakely, reprising her role as Cobb’s widowed daughter-in-law, starts dating a nervous nerd played by a blinking Brian Kerwin. Matthau shambles through the movie with as much humor as he can bring to a humorless script, but he seems to be doing it — well, if not against his will, then against his better judgment. D+