Bill Pullman and Nicole Kidman star together as a stabile married couple, with a strong lovers ideal of making the best out of their pleasant lives.*************************** Malice. Bill Pullman and Nicole Kidman star together as a stabile married couple, with a strong lovers ideal of making the best out of their pleasant lives. Both love children, particularly Kidman, who has been striving to conceive. Enter a glib, womanizing doctor (Alec Baldwin), who befriends Pullman but is abhorred by Kidman. With mysterious hemorrhaging ailments, when the doctor must perform an emergency operation to save her, he is given the option to leave her ovaries and possibly welcome future problems, or remove them and render her unable to give birth. Then things get twisty! Aaron Sorkin and Scott Frank’s screenplay reaches for a high-brow intelligence (incorporating words like “impervious,” or more foreignly, “genuflect”), but once the film is recognizably improbable logistically and medically, Malice comes out looking like feigned intelligence. The plot mechanics are well-oiled and above average for this type of vehicle. Often in comic adaptations or detective mysteries, you are straddled with one case for the entire time, but director Harold Becker is ambitious enough to let one tale beautifully and copacetically segue into the next, all the while never forgetting to follow up, even if he does let the answers dangle behind at a slower pace. Pullman is first-rate as the luckless hero (“You’re like Job—things just fuckin’ happen to you”) and blows away Baldwin, whose villainy is much weaker than anticipated. Kidman holds her own against Pullman, and her cold, bitchiness is no match for her cohort. Anne Bancroft is also very good in her minimal role, but her whole contribution feels so rehearsed and premeditated.
With a nice supporting role by Bebe Neuwirth, and a small bit with Gwyneth Paltrow.Final Verdict: B.