No Win Situation
With re-election and her new crime initiative to launch Monique Lamont (Andie MacDowell) wants Win Garano (Daniel Sunjata) to re-investigate an old crime attributed to the Boston Strangler. At the same time Win is concerned by a recent murder in the Watertown district especially as it happened just down the street from his beloved Nana (Diahann Carroll). It means he has to work with detective Stump (Ashley Williams) again and she still takes joy in making life difficult for him. But together they try and unravel the mess not only of the recent crime but also the historic one as they some how seem to be connected.
"The Front" is a follow up to the TV Movie "At Risk", both of which are adaptations of Patricia Cornwell novels and focus on the characters of Police Investigator Win Garano, detective Stump, D.A. Monique Lamont and young student Cal. And that is the first issue because whilst you could watch "The Front" without having watched "At Risk" there will be plenty which won't make much sense. But that is not the real problem, that arises from the fact that there is so much going on that following "The Front" borders on the impossible as it seemingly flies off on tangents all over the place, flitting between a historic crime and a present one. Throw in some cheesy dialogue, cheesy acting and it makes "The Front" a troubled movie with its only redeeming quality is that the basic idea of investigating a murder attributed to the Boston Strangler is quite interesting.
So "The Front" runs with a similar idea to "At Risk" which basically sees Win trying to solve an old crime because Monique wants the positive press. Now that simple idea of going over a murder attributed to Albert DeSalvo and discovering that it may have been someone else is good, maybe not that new but basically good. But the trouble is that it gets very messy because we also have a current crime which relates to this old crime and that is not the only one as we also then get the mystery of an angry looking clown mimic plus someone stalking Win and Monique. There is simply too much going on and crammed into 90 minutes makes it incredibly disjointed and hard to follow.
Now for those who have watched "At Risk" that makes it hard enough but for those who watch "The Front" without knowing the relationships between the central characters it makes it bordering on the impossible. But to make matters worse is that characters set up in the first movie get changed in this follow up, Monique is bitchier and more of a seductress than before to the point she is even more over the top than Joan Collins was in Dynasty. Then there is Win Garano, are ultimate hunk who charms women and annoys the heck out of Stump, both Win and Stump's change is a very unconvincing twist, one which is also predictable and cheesy. And then there is Cal, now I must admit I struggle to remember him from the first movie, well the movie was as a whole forgettable, so it's hard to judge but he is one unbelievable character.
The irony of this is that whilst "The Front" is a frustrating mess which is hard to follow you sort of want to understand it. You want to understand it because of the concept, the idea that an old crime may have been attributed to the wrong person is a decent one. It may not be a new idea but an entertaining one and I would love for someone to take this idea and turn it into a much better movie.
What this all boils down to is that "The Front" is a as poor as "The Risk" for some of the same reasons but mostly because there is too much going on with much of it seemingly inconsequential making it incredibly hard to follow.