Client, The
Entertainment: +3 1/2
Acceptability: -1 1/2

When eleven-year-old Mark Sway (Brad Renfro) and his younger brother Ricky sneak into the woods to smoke a cigarette, they stumble onto a mob lawyer intent on killing himself. Before shooting himself, the despondent attorney roughs up Mark and tells him where the body of a missing senator is buried. These traumatic events throw Ricky into a coma. When word spreads that Mark knows more than he's saying, the mob comes sniffing around, first to bark, then to bite. Pushing Mark to say what will surely get him killed is arrogant federal prosecutor Roy Foltrigg (Tommy Lee Jones), deemed Reverend Roy for quoting and misquoting the Bible in court. For help, Mark runs to rookie lawyer Reggie Love (Susan Sarandon), whose cunning and vigor match Reverend Roy's and the mob's. But don't mistake this for another courtroom drama. The Client abandons the Halls of Justice for the streets and back roads of Memphis and New Orleans. The result is a legal thriller packed with action, ingenuity, outright fun and superb acting.

Unfortunately, this fun is marred by excessive foul language. From the mouths of babes, attorneys and villains come over 120 crudities, obscenities and profanities. Though the words are spoken casually and not meant to shock, discerning viewers will cringe about every 50 seconds, on average. Again, Hollywood has labeled a Bible-quoting character as a hypocrite in the Tommy Lee Jones role of prosecuting attorney. Watching a fellow youngster in grave peril would be frightening to young children. The suicide at the beginning and our young hero threatened with a knife in an elevator are particularly intense scenes. However, it's nice to see Mark learn to trust adults and use his intelligence, rather than violence, to triumph over evil. With very little bloodshed and no sex, THE CLIENT could have been just as effective without the offensive language and profanity.

Preview Reviewer: Bob Liparulo
Distributor: Warner Brothers, 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

Crude Language: Many (74) times - Mild 34, Moderate 40
Obscene Language: Many (27) times (s-word 20, other 7, obscene gesture twice)
Profanity: Many (22) times - Regular 16 (J, G, JC, G-d), Exclamatory 6
Violence: Many times - Moderate (Attempted suicide by carbon monoxide; boy punched in face, roughed up; implied shooting suicide; gun and knife threats; slapping; woman tackled and restrained; maggoty face of corpse briefly shown; shootings; boy points gun at man; man's face pushed against wall; pictures of suicide victim; mobile home set ablaze)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (man's crotch grabbed)
Drug Abuse: Children smoke cigarettes twice; whiskey drinking from bottle; discussion of alcoholism
Other: Bible quoting attorney portrayed unfavorably
Running Time:
Intended Audience: Teenagers and adults

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