"In the last thirty years, I have seen a serious breakdown in morality, a lack of standards, a weakening of moral fiber, open acceptance of crooked practices . . . Where will it end? Don’t ask me," wrote Ann Landers, America’s high priestess of middle-brow morality. What would she think of From the Hip , in which Baby Boomer Robin Weathers moves ahead at the posh Boston law firm where he works through a series of dirty tricks? He’s convinced that success is all that counts.

This drama, directed by Bob Clark, starts out as a wild satire on the legal profession and veers into a serious look at legal ethics. Judd Nelson is fine as the Yuppie counselor with a gift for courtroom drama; John Hurt nearly steals the film as a brilliant but malevolent university professor accused of murdering a prostitute; and Elizabeth Perkins is superb as Weather’s girlfriend — her moral fiber and love help this hotshot lawyer see the light. Now if only Ann Landers could tell us all when a sense of decency and morality will again reign in the workaday world.