Here's one offering with a better pedigree than most of director Joe Roth's work: the 1999 novel by Richard Price, set in the same New Jersey housing project as Clockers, his 1992 murder mystery set amid the world of cops and drug dealers. And it boasts a high-caliber cast: Samuel L. Jackson as Detective Lorenzo Council, a father figure even to the no-goods living in the Gannon, New Jersey housing projects known as Armstrong; Julianne Moore as Brenda Martin, the distraught woman who claims to have been carjacked while her four-year-old son slept in the car; and Edie Falco as Karen Collucci, the activist who fronts an organization of moms dedicated to tracking down missing kids. The book was a similarly rich, intricate, and even haunting work -- a whodunit set in a messy place, where black and white are always one shove away from drawing red blood. The movie, though? No such luck. And the performances are lousy all around -- histrionic and turgid, a lethal combination.
Director: Joe Roth
Writer: Richard Price
Producer: Scott Rudin
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore, Edie Falco, Doug Aguirre, Ron Eldard, William Forsythe, Anthony Mackie, Aunjanue Ellis and Liza Colon-Zayas