Time Out says
In theory, there’s nothing wrong when a movie reminds you of TV. (That’s where the fun is, anyway.) But when a movie resembles a long-lost, corduroy-clad episode of The Rockford Files, that’s a problem. Based on crime novelist Michael Connelly’s coach-class page-turner and adapted by former Hill Street Blues writer John Romano, The Lincoln Lawyer cruises into gentle misadventures, much like its greasily charming hero: Mick Haller (McConaughey), a garrulous attorney who works out of his whale of a Town Car. A black chauffeur (The Shield’s Laurence Mason) serves as Mick’s captive audience and wisdom recipient; meanwhile, Mick’s spitfire ex-wife (Tomei), also a lawyer, trades barbs and occasionally consents to remember-when sex.
Who’s that mysterious client with the suspicious motivations? Ryan Phillippe, of course. (Are you getting a sense of how middle-of-the-road this is?) Surely there’s more to his wealthy real-estate agent accused of murder than he’s willing to fess; even if you have the patience to let the movie meander to its soapy foregone conclusion, you’ll be missing your sofa. Perhaps The Lincoln Lawyer exists to lend definition to the career of McConaughey, never quite the above-the-title star promised, a performer whose glibness makes you yearn for the all-American blandness of a young Kevin Costner. (McConaughey must still think he’s starring in television commercials, his original forte.) Far superior, if relegated to the sidelines, are William H. Macy, as an eager investigator working with Mick, and John Leguizamo, as a mouthy bail bondsman. Yes, that’s right: a mouthy bail bondsman. Set your alarm to wake you when the Ford Administration ends.