The Lincoln Lawyer
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Philippe.
Directed by: Bead Furman
Rating: **1/2

Brad Furman's legal thriller cruises along for the first half of its running time on a smartly chosen rap soundtrack and the charisma of leading man Matthew McConaughey. Coming off a period in which he's been reinvented as a romantic comedy star, McConaughey is obviously having fun with a sketchier part.

His Mickey Haller is a tarnished-white-knight figure, a scandal-plagued Los Angeles defence attorney who lines his pockets by winning settlements for a conspicuously scuzzy clientele. The Lincoln Lawyer is adapted from a potboiler by Michael Connelly, and it never transcends its source material's airport-paperback plotting: it's pretty obvious here things are going from the first, tense scene between McConaughey's Mickey Haller and Ryan Philippe as a callow trust-fund kid accused of sexual assault. Marisa Tomei and William H. Macy contribute nicely sketched supporting performances (as Mickey's ex-wife and investigator, respectively), but the contrivance-laden story finally stretches credibility past the breaking point.

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