Detective Duncan Hatcher is a smoldering Savannah homicide cop who falls hard for Elise Laird, a foxy damsel-in-distress. Unfortunately, she happens to be married to a corrupt judge, Cato Laird, who constantly subverts Hatcher’s efforts to bring a local drug lord to justice. Things get even more complicated when Detective Hatcher and his partner, Detective DeeDee Bowen, are called to the Laird home after Elise shoots an intruder, supposedly in self-defense. Can Det. Hatcher successfully clear his crush’s name and finally put the bad guy behind bars? Will that pesky judge ever get his comeuppance? Will Det. Bowen find satisfaction in her pastime of collecting rare baseball cards? Read on!
I was recently scrolling through movies on Hulu when I spied a title card that just about made me fall over with shock and joy. There it was: an offering that included John Corbett and Gary Cole in the same project – a made-for-TV one at that. Did I mention it’s a Lifetime-vibe murder mystery (courtesy of TNT’s Tuesday Night Movie series)? I had to know more! (Month 3 of quarantine made it easy to convince my husband watching this schlock was exactly what we needed because really, what else are we going to do at this point?)
Have you ever taken a temp job? You’ve got the skills, you’re going to show up and be professional; but also you’re not gonna give it your all because you know you’re never going to see these people again? That’s the essence of Ricochet. My suspicions were confirmed when I stumbled upon an interview Corbett gave about the film, saying, “This is one of those color-in-the-lines projects. It's a coloring book. It’s not a blank page on which you create your own art. This is a very by-the-book job.” In other words, leave the creativity and the crayons at home – this shizz is in black & white. (John and Gary must’ve needed their respective paydays; it’s the only thing that explains why these two iconic actors signed up for this.)
John Corbett plays Detective Duncan Hatcher (Duncan? That is a decidedly unsexy name), a frustrated policeman who continuously arrests the local drug lord but never gets the satisfaction of seeing him go to jail, thanks to the double dealings of Judge Cato Laird (played by the much-adored Gary Cole). Does Judge Laird love crime-riddled streets? Or does he rejoice in cockblocking justice to get back at Det. Hatcher because he knows Hatcher wants to bone his wife? Maybe it’s both – the law, and men, are complicated y’all!
Speaking of “y’all,” great lengths are taken to let the viewer know the location of this drama is set in Savannah… efforts that are wasted because the location is rarely referenced again and has absolutely no bearing on the storyline. But, okay – we are in Georgia! (Despite the fact that this was filmed in New Orleans.) The only person who seemed to get the memo is Judge Laird’s wife/object of Det. Hatcher’s lust, Elise Laird (played by Julie Benz! She of Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Dexter/Jawbreaker fame), with Elise being the only character to maintain a Southern accent throughout the entire runtime. The fact that Julie looks like Camille Grammer and sounds like Susan Sarandon is the icing on this cheesecake, if cheesecake had icing, reminding me that we all need more Julie in our lives.
Add to this a delightful sidekick in Detective DeeDee Bowen (Kelly Overton, of Van Helsing and True Blood) and you’ve got the makings for a perfectly fine 2 hours of Cheez Whiz pleasure. Does DeeDee have feelings for Det. Hatcher? Does she disapprove of Elise? Are DeeDee’s pantsuits too big for her, thus distinguishing her from Elise’s nippily tank top wardrobe? Does Det. Hatcher have the balls to attempt to placate his trusty partner with collectible baseball cards? Yes, yes, yes, and a resounding yes!
Ricochet is based on the novel of the same name by New York Times Best-Selling author Sandra Brown – a woman I just learned about yesterday, and damn girl! Sandra has written over 65 novels, has four additional pen names, and started her career on a dare from her husband. Also of note – she began writing in earnest at 30 years old while mothering two toddlers. She’s now 72 and still going strong, publishing a book a year. I stan!
Yep, the plot is predictable and the dialogue a touch hackneyed. And if you’ve come looking for “the best of” John Corbett, or that special Gary Cole character actor flair – well, you’re not going to find either of those things here. However, if you’d like to watch Julie Benz drink a cold glass of milk (milk!!!) after some (implied) strenuous lovemaking, I’ve got just the film for you! This flick is otherwise forgettable, not even falling in the “so bad it’s good” category – but does it really matter at the moment? Spark up the HULU, sit back, and drift for a bit. You deserve it.
If you’re craving something of quality, binge How To Get Away with Murder or Dead To Me – both currently on Netflix. If you’re in need of a thriller with a southern flair, watch (or, better yet, read) Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil. Extra points: Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil also happens to be the theme of Carole Radziwill’s 50th birthday party on Season 6 of Real Housewives of NYC. That’s good company!
Streamer beware – there’s another Ricochet on the market, a movie from 1991 starring Denzel Washington, John Lithgow, Ice-T, Kevin Pollak, and Lindsay Wagner. I can’t vouch for it – anymore than I can vouch for this, haha – but with a cast like that, I may have to do a Ricochet double dip. Stay tuned!