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Case Number 03788: Small Claims Court

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Jury Duty

Sony // 1995 // 88 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // January 7th, 2004

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All Rise...

The Charge


The Case

Welcome to the most ludicrous court case in history! Tommy Collins (Pauly Shore, Son In Law) is a lazy freeloader who spends his days watching TV with his dog, Peanut, and sleeping in his mother's (Shelly Winters, The Poseidon Adventure) run down trailer home. When Tommy's mother decides to pack up her things—and her home—for Las Vegas to get married, Tommy is suddenly left to his own devices! Digging out a jury summons notice he threw into the trash, Tommy decides that his best course of action is to become a juror, a job that pays five dollars a day and gives him room and board in a local hotel. Tommy quickly gets himself onto the jury of a local mass murderer that appears to be an open and shut case. But Tommy needs a home and briskly devises a way of making sure the case drags out to ridiculously wild lengths. With the judge (Abe Vigoda) and jury (including Tommy's love interest played by the smoldering Tia Carrere) annoyed at his persistence in assuming the killer is innocent, it will take all Tommy's wiles and wit (or lack thereof) to keep a roof over his head…all in the name of lady justice!

Oh Lord, I still can't get the stink off my hands from holding the DVD of Jury Duty! What possessed studio executives to make not one, not two, but by my count five theatrical releases starring Pauly Shore?!? Starting with 1992's mind numbing Encino Man and finally crashing and burning in 1996's Bio Dome, Shore was that rarity of oddities that no one seemed to find very funny, yet he was everywhere like some kind of a twisted omnipresent anti-God. In 1995's Jury Duty, we're supposed to buy that Shore could single-handedly hold up a jury's decision at a murder trial for over a month—suspension of disbelief is needed for many comedies, but for Jury Duty you'd need suspension of all natural thought. Shore manages to whine, wheeze, and whimper his way through the film until the final, forehead-slapping conclusion. By the middle 1990s, Shore's "weasel" persona had already started to grate on audiences' nerves, no less so than with Jury Duty. Shockingly, the film boasts a boatload of fine character actors, including the great Brian Doyle Murray (Caddyshack), Stanley Tucci (It Could Happen To You), Richard Riehle (Office Space), Charles Napier (Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery), Shelley Winters (!!) and the winner of the "I Can't Believe He's Not Only Not Dead Yet But Is Still Working" award, Abe Vigoda (Barney Miller). Tia Carrere, showing almost no discernment in her film choices after her success in Wayne's World and Wayne's World 2, is little more than window dressing on Shore's arm, further proof that the movies are complete fantasy—when a moron like Shore can get a woman like Carrere, you know it's close to the end times. Not one joke in Jury Duty made me laugh, not a single solitary one. Hell, even Battlefield Earth was able to squeeze a minor chuckle out of me, and that was unintentional. If you're fan of Paul Shore's films, Jury Duty will be the most highly prized DVD in your collection. For the rest of the world (i.e., minus four of us), leave this comedic turd on the video shelves where it belongs, dude.

Jury Duty is presented in a cropped 1.33:1 full frame version. Here's where I'll give my requisite statement saying every film should be given an anamorphic transfer featuring the film's original aspect ratio. That being said, I really could not have cared less that I was seeing about a third less of Jury Duty. Overall, this transfer is in decent shape with colors and black levels relatively solid and dark. Columbia didn't put a lot of work into this title, and can you really blame them? Major imperfections are minimal, and that's the best thing Jury Duty's got going for it. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround in English and French. Much like the video presentation there isn't a whole lot to say about this sound mix. The music, effects, and dialogue are (sadly) crystal clear without much in the way of directional effects or surround sounds. All aspects of the mix are free of major hiss or distortion. Also included on this disc are English and French subtitles.

Let me ask you a serious question: if I tell you that Jury Duty's only supplemental material include a few theatrical trailers for various Columbia titles, will you really be that disappointed? I didn't think so.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 47

Perp Profile

Studio: Sony
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
• English
• French
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 1995
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
• Bad
• Comedy

Distinguishing Marks

• Theatrical Trailers


• IMDb

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