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Customer Review

51 of 65 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Stale and overdone Pacino vehicle, October 11, 2008
This review is from: 88 Minutes (DVD)
88 Minutes is a tried and true "whodunit" shock/thriller clone that may entertain briefly but is at best a guilty pleasure. The story is a Hollywood teaser line: A renown forensic psychologist (Pacino) testifies against a serial killer and then 9 years later on the day of the killer's execution gets a phone call that he has 88 minutes to live.

This may be enough to get Hollywood producers frothing at the mouth and shelling out money, but this is a classic case of a movie that should have stayed a trailer-- the concept fits best into a 30-second package. Watching this movie is like eating a stale doughnut: You see it in the box with all of yesterdays crumbs and think, "That can't be very good, but I want it." You eat it. And then you regret it until the next stale doughnut comes along.

There are 3 main problems to this movie:

1. Pacino plays Pacino: Like Harrison Ford and Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino is getting old (sorry, but it's true). This movie showcases that by juxtaposing him with a class of young co-eds that he supposedly teaches psychology to and having him flirt with them in a decidedly "dirty old man" way. Never in this movie do you think "This is Dr. Gramm, the brilliant and famous forensic psychologist." No, this is Al Pacino stumbling around and yelling into a cell phone every five minutes. As the plot unfolds (more on that later), Pacino combats the killer with cantankerous "hoo-ha!" instead of a psychologist's keen insight. And after the movie nobody even remembers his character's name; it's just Pacino. That might be ok, except that it's an old, grumpy Pacino who refuses to be filmed opposite a female over the age of 25.

2. The Plot: This is an Agatha Christie whodunit with all the investigating stripped out and replaced with shock/gore. It starts with the initial murder which has that sicko-rapist creepiness, and then once it gets going with the "88 minutes" it's just one red herring suspect after another (complete with altered flashbacks and ominous music when you see them).

3. Lack of Characters: There aren't any characters in this movie. Period. There's Pacino playing himself. There are a bunch of vapid co-eds. There's a generic serial killer with no personality (other than he likes to kill/rape people). And that's it. Pacino gets a tragic backstory, but it's the same family trauma crap we see in every crime protagonist. Everyone else is just window dressing: victims, suspects, people for Pacino to say "Hoo-ha!" to on the cell phone (I think at its core this is a cell phone commercial).

In short, unless you really like Pacino and cell phones and wonder how much Hollywood makeup can make him look like a leading man again (similar to the morbid curiosity of watching the last Indiana Jones movie), don't rent or buy this movie.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 29, 2008 8:32:24 PM PST
Joao C Bom says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Nov 23, 2009 6:02:24 PM PST
Yasha Banana says:

Great review! I agree with you 100%.

Al Pacino, born in 1940, was 66/67-years-old when he made this turkey. Like Woody Allen, he keeps insisting on starring in movies where he thinks at a ripe old age that he makes the same impression on young women that he did when he was decades younger. (Although in Woody Allen's case, he had precious little going for him at *any* age.)

At what point did Al Pacino become a caricature of himself? Also, I wonder what Al Pacino's career would have been like if he didn't star in the the two Godfather movies. Take those two movies away and what Pacino does in just about all of his movies is that he "Pacino-izes" them -- by which I mean he pontificates and scolds and lectures and poses and struts. ... And after a while it all becomes quite predictable.

It's not that it's not interesting to see him perform, but there may be less to Al Pacino then we originally imagined.

The same can be said of Robert DiNiro. Do they appear in these lightweight potboilers just for the money? Is it that there simply aren't that many good scripts, producers, directors and writers around? Or is it that they just get tired? I think someone like Al Pacino likes acting, likes preparing a role, likes the ambience of a movie set, but perhaps knows better than a critical audience how difficult it is to actually *do* quality work. Presumably, he's capable of it but, as Old Blue Eyes used to say: "It's a long, it's a long, man, it'a a long road."

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 2, 2010 10:27:26 PM PDT
VickyNC says:
I agree that this was not a very good movie and the biggest problem for me was Al Pacino--he really didn't seem to be into the role or he can't act. My problem with Al Pacino is that there is never any real emotion shown on his face--no real emotion. The characters do not seem genuine; Al Pacino certainly comes across completely paranoid even before he knows someone truly is out to murder him. I think they needed to cast different actors in this and make the plot more believable--the viewer has to suspend disbelief with movies but this was way beyond what should have been required of the viewer. Again, I agree with this comment re: Pacino and the young women--his attempts at "comfort" missed the mark--the holding, caressing, the kiss on the head, etc. seemed totally out of character for the part he was playing or overplaying in the case of the his constant yelling. It was a surprise to learn who was helping the serial killer but the motivation for this did not ring true. I don't recommend this movie. The difference I have with the above comment is that I like Robert DeNiro and enjoyed him immensely in "Stardust" in a role the likes of which a fan of his would never expect him to play. I also liked DeNiro as the police detective in the thriller "15 minutes" he can still act and they don't show him having sex or flirting with women much too young to be believable.

Posted on Dec 7, 2010 10:50:31 AM PST
I've heard reviews that strongly echo your eval-
uation of this situation. After that last film with
DeNiro (a sad,sad affair) I'm a believer in this
review.....however ...I am curious!?!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2010 11:01:49 AM PST
"15 Minutes was real good 'cause it was very
believable and Ed Burns played very well. The
'Whoo-Ha" shoulda been done with after "Scent
of a Woman"

Posted on Jan 3, 2011 10:50:18 AM PST
Good review!.......... very convincing...........I won't touch this with
a pole.

Posted on Mar 16, 2013 8:51:12 AM PDT
EA Solinas says:
Muchas gracias for the warning. Won't even consider this one.
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