As you watch “City Hall” (1996), there’s a feeling this plane is on autopilot. Al Pacino is the mayor of New York. He plays it like pretty much every speechifying New York Guy character he’s ever played. John Cusack is deputy mayor. His Louisiana accent and backwoods backstory are more a distraction than a distinction. (Former South Carolina Sen. Ernest Hollings has a cameo, BTW.) The tired plot’s a retelling of the young idealist learning the hard way that political morality is painted in shades of gray, not black and white. It’s not bad, it just doesn’t have any soul.

 

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