It’s easy enough to imagine the pitch meeting that led to the creation of David Dobkin’s The Judge: simply picture someone, anyone, it doesn’t matter who, standing in front of a loose assembly of Hollywood brass, spouting off something like, “he’s a judge, but he’s about to be on trial.” You can almost hear the sighs. “But Robert Downey, Jr. wants to star in it.” Cue clapping, the signing of a budget (is this how Hollywood pitch meetings go? no, but go with it) and lots of big smiles. The Judge! He’s a judge, but he’s about to be on trial! With Robert Downey, Jr.! It’s a can’t-miss! Dobkin’s film certainly has good intentions, shoehorning in an emotional redemption story alongside a standard “hey, maybe you really can go home again” tale and the kind of legal procedural that would only ever play out on the big screen, but the results are less than impressive. Fresh off a slowly diminishing streak of wacky comedies like Wedding Crashers, The Change-Up and Fred Claus, Dobkin attempts to go for something approaching sincerity and drama with The Judge, yet he can’t quite capture the right tone, and the film wings between light dramedy and genuinely upsetting family drama. A consistent interest in picking the most obvious choice possible at nearly every turn ultimately proves to be the film’s most egregious downfall.