Unfortunately, Wild Things is not a character study of Bill Murray’s Ken Bowden. But despite the little we get to see of him, we can’t help but love the character, sleaze and all. Bowden’s immediately suspect, due to his cavalier use of neck braces to elicit sympathy from the jury (a move we’ve seen more recently from Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman). But when we realize what a farce the whole opening lawsuit is, we can’t help but think he’s the perfect man for the job.
As likable as Bill Murray is as a scheister in Wild Things, George Clooney takes things a different way altogether in Michael Clayton, a once-promising layer who has been relegated to existing in a legal gray area because that’s where his services are most valued.
This down-on-his-luck-but-affluent “lawyer” operates more like Winston the Wolf from Pulp Fiction or Mike the cleaner from Breaking Bad than he does a man of the law. But as with so many of these examples, we get to see the bad egg make good when he is tasked with reeling in a rogue defense attorney in a pollution case.
Good rule of thumb: if your attorney in any way resembles Jim Carrey, you best find yourself a new lawyer. In Liar Liar, Carrey plays up the sleazy stereotypes as a man who predicates not only his career, but his personal relationships on lying left and right. When forced to tell the truth, Carrey’s Fletcher Reede not only has to drop some inappropriate truth bombs, but has to flail about wildly while doing it, in true Carrey fashion.
Like I said, you don’t want a lawyer that acts like this.