American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
“From the Hip” performs an uneasy marriage between the hippie ‘60s and the yuppie ‘80s, with a hero who seems constantly poised between buying the condo and buying the farm. The movie’s about a young lawyer in a proper Boston firm who despairs of ever being noticed by his employers - until he hits upon the inspiration of making himself visible by becoming very loud and very unorthodox.
I don’t imagine his approach would persuade many law firms to make him a junior partner (which happens about 10 seconds after he starts screaming in the office), but then this movie isn’t intended as a realistic portrait of careers in the law. It’s more like an escapist film for today’s hard-working, goal-oriented, upward-bound young professionals who are jealous of the fun their parents had in the 1960s.
Since the job market is tight right now and competition is cutthroat, this must be every junior yuppie’s fantasy: You can break all the rules and still keep the big apartment with the glassed-in veranda for your pet doves. At least I think they were doves. They kept fluttering around in the background of all the love scenes, which are played in a bed in an alcove surrounded by birds. The movie is so cool it doesn’t even mention them.
The story’s hero is Robin Weathers (Judd Nelson), known, of course, as Stormy. His girlfriend is Jo Ann (Elizabeth Perkins). She doesn’t have a last name but makes up for that by giving her man lots of moral support, as when he doubts if he can successfully defend the evil Benoit (John Hurt), who has been charged with hammering a prostitute to death.