A research assistant, not taken seriously because she is an attractive woman, helps an attorney with a lawsuit against a large utility company blamed for causing an outbreak of fatal illnesses in a small community. Julia Roberts stars as the twice-divorced mother of three who discovers a cover-up involving contaminated water.
A downtrodden woman who expresses herself with short skirts and a foul mouth, Erin has fallen through society’s cracks. The so-called great economy we all share seems to have bypassed our heroine. Saddled with three kids and two husbands who obviously pay no alimony or child support, Erin finds herself in debt and searching for work.
Lacking computer skills or a college degree, she finds employment nearly out of her reach. Frustrated, she demands a job from the lawyer who failed to get her a settlement in a car accident case. When Erin discovers that she is adept at research, she pursues a nearly forgotten insurance case that eventually brings prestige to the law firm and justice to civilians who were deceived by a powerful utilities company.
This is the role Roberts has been searching for. The character conquers prejudice, injustice and economic woes. Peggy Lee’s salute to womanhood, “I’m A Woman,” and Helen Reddy’s ‘70’s feminist anthem, “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar,” must have been written with a character such as Erin B. in mind. She is tough, independent, a survivor. And if a man can profane God’s name and use obscenity whenever he attempts to express his frustration, hey, why not a woman? And she does. She uses one particular curse word nearly 30 times. She sleeps with the next-door neighbor, who delights in babysitting Erin’s three youngsters. Not employed himself, it’s a convenient role reversal. Erin tells her son not to curse, and the next sentence from her mouth profanes God’s name. The performances are terrific and the good guys win, but the abundance of profanity and obscenity ruin an otherwise promising movie experience. In case you are tempted to support this film due to the praise it will no doubt fetch from secular critics, remember that Julia and her fellow cast mates use God’s name followed by a curse 10 times and Jesus’ name used as a frustrated expletive seven times. If it were the exception to the rule, I might be a little more lenient toward this film. After all, it does contain a positive message about seeking justice for those who can’t defend themselves. But when this objectionable language seeps into nearly every prestigious film, I think it becomes necessary to take a stand for what you believe. Remember, if words are the summation of the heart’s thoughts, then perhaps people who constantly misuse God’s name are contemptuous of His nature.