Erin Brockovich

Rated 2.0 A single mother (Julia Roberts) working as a file clerk for an attorney (Albert Finney) spearheads a class-action lawsuit against Pacific Gas and Electric for toxic dumping. The film is well-directed by Steven Soderbergh but dramatically static and much too long and, like the similar A Civil Action from a couple of years ago, there’s no emotional payoff to this fact-based courtroom drama. The most interesting thing about it is how unsympathetic the heroine is; she’s ill-tempered, obnoxious, loud-mouthed, profane, self-righteous and a neglectful mother to boot, yet we’re clearly expected to admire her—no doubt because she’s played by Julia Roberts. In an interesting gender-role reversal, Aaron Eckhart twiddles his thumbs in the thankless role of the heroine’s long-suffering boyfriend.