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Boob Job

Julia Roberts and her cleavage fight social injustice in Erin Brockovich

A cell phone conversation between Erin and George, in which he tells her that her baby girl has spoken her first word during Erin's prolonged absence, is perhaps the most striking scene in the film -- and the most sincere thing Roberts has ever done on film. She can't decide whether to smile or cry, so she does both at once; the proud mother, ashamed at what she has done to her children but unable to help it or apologize for it. See, she not only wants justice for the residents of Hinkley, she wants their respect (and Ed's and George's), because that's the only thing in life she has never had.

Her solo album: Julia Roberts has no male costars to muck up her screen time.
Bob Marshak
Her solo album: Julia Roberts has no male costars to muck up her screen time.

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Rated R.

To the film's credit, Erin's investigation often feels beside the point. This is less a film about exacting justice than it is a film about a film about exacting justice. It's as though Soderbergh and Grant knew there's no way to tell this story without commenting on its familiarity (no, its obviousness) or almost apologizing for its truth-is-better-than-fiction fairy-tale ending. So they undercut every moment of tension with a smart laugh, a wry punch line, almost all of which are about Erin's tits. It's effective to a point, but the film begins to lose momentum by the end, just around the time Erin tells Kurt Potter (a smarmy Peter Coyote), a lawyer Ed has brought in to assist with the case, that the only reason she got this far is because "I just went over and performed 634 sexual favors, and boy, am I tired." Sit through this, and you'll know a little of how she feels.

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