(CNN) - Nobody will confuse "Seeing Allred" with a hard-hitting expose; rather, this Netflix documentary unabashedly celebrates publicity-savvy attorney/advocate Gloria Allred, shedding some interesting light on her career, even if it's all flattering.
The irony is that filmmakers Sophie Sartain and Roberta Grossman began their look at Allred's hard-charging brand of lawyering -- with its emphasis on media appearances and never meeting a bank of cameras she wouldn't rush to greet -- during the allegations against Bill Cosby in 2014.
Allred not only represented a number of the comedian's accusers but also lobbied to alter statute of limitations laws in connection with rape cases -- a campaign that resulted in California Gov. Jerry Brown signing the Justice for Victims Act in 2016.
As a consequence, the film essentially just tacks on material about the #MeToo movement that arose in the fall, with a bit more time devoted to Allred's clients who have leveled allegations against Donald Trump -- a one-two punch that has put a sort-of punctuation mark on her lifelong crusade.
"Seeing Allred" opens with a 1977 clip from Dinah Shore's show, in which Allred rises from the audience and identifies herself as an attorney, registering a point about feminism that leaves the host taken aback. It's emblematic of both the time and Allred's confrontational style, reinforcing assertions by friends and colleagues that the attorney's unadulterated focus is on serving her clients and advancing her causes, not winning any popularity contests.
"I live in a war zone," Allred says near the outset -- which somewhat clashes with the image of her gazing out at the ocean from her Malibu home -- adding that in terms of the way she prosecutes her battles on behalf of women, "Power only understands power."
"Seeing Allred" is at its best in roughly the first third of the film, which chronicles Allred's biography -- how she married young, went back to school to become a lawyer and stumbled into her career niche. One media appearance, basically, begat another, as evidenced by a rapid-fire montage of Allred addressing reporters or mixing it up as a guest on cable news.
Allred also discusses her personal experience with sexual assault, and is shown spending time with her daughter, Lisa Bloom, who has followed in mom's footsteps.
What's missing from the film, unfortunately, is a sense of balance -- anybody who might accuse Allred of public-relations grandstanding or second-guess her decisions. Yes, there are clips of people (including Trump, but also Jimmy Kimmel and "Saturday Night Live") criticizing or mocking her, and ample praise from notable figures, such as Gloria Steinem. But there's relatively little that qualifies as bringing critical third-party voices into the conversation.
Obviously, the intention here was to raise awareness of Allred's accomplishments -- including work beyond her high-profile or celebrity-driven cases -- and reveal more about the person behind the press conferences. Given the tide of news during the last several months, the issues raised couldn't be timelier.
Still, as the documentary makes clear, Allred is tough enough to shrug off the occasional brush-back pitch. That makes it something of a shame that "Seeing Allred" opted to strictly toss her softballs.
"Seeing Allred" premieres Feb. 9 on Netflix.
Just a few weeks after canceling "Roseanne" after the show's star Roseanne Barr posted racist and bizarre tweets, ABC says it is keeping the show alive -- without Barr.Read More »
- Art expert claims discovery of Leonardo da Vinci's earliest work
- Melania Trump's jacket: ‘I really don't care. Do U?'
- Chloe Dykstra speaks out after Chris Hardwick denial
- Demi Lovato opens up about relapse in candid single 'Sober'
- Study finds apps for children may violate federal privacy law
- Arts Around Town: Jeff Parks pens Bethlehem's transformation in 'Stronger Than Steel'
- Reading's Lonnie Walker drafted by the San Antonio Spurs
- "Helping them heal, that was our goal," says Las Vegas Portraits organizer
- Police search for convicted murderer accused of raping aunt
- Man arrested after firearms, ammunition found in Bethlehem storage unit
- Wilson Borough police looking for accused shooter
- Man gets new sentence for 1997 murder of Reading store owner
- Officials question how to enforce Bethlehem's new marijuana ordinance
- Updated Pols, others decry gerrymandering
- Updated Plan to convert former farmhouse into Arby's approved
- Upper Milford residents want solutions to speeding