88 Minutes

(2008) * 1/2 R
109 min. Columbia Pictures. Director: Jon Avnet. Cast: Al Pacino, Alicia Witt, Leelee Sobieski, Neal McDonough, Benjamin McKenzie.
Another lamebrained variation on the noir standard D.O.A., 88 Minutes propels itself through a requisite excess of plot to keep viewers guessing from whence the stench of herring comes and, as they say, whodunnit. Al Pacino plays a forensic psychologist who receives a phone call marking him for death in 88 minutes. The prime suspect: a convicted serial killer (Neal McDonough) scheduled for execution that very night. When the screenplay is solely focused on the mystery elements, 88 Minutes is nominally involving, with the advantage of a ticking plot that keeps promising the viewer something monumental will happen in a matter of minutes. But at any sign of attempted drama or circumstantial style, Jon Avnet's movie reveals its laughably vacuous inner self; the film proves its essential ridiculousness in a "we waited for this?" finale.
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