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Harrison Ford on a little
girl's bike!  It doesn't get
any funnier than that! 

Hollywood Homicide
Review written by: Alex Sandell

After last year's dud, K-19: The Widowmaker, and this year's disaster, Hollywood Homicide -- I'm starting to wonder if Harrison Ford should quit the acting biz, and go back into carpentry.  I knew something was wrong, when Ford's attempt at a Russian accent, in the "serious" K-19, was unintentionally funnier than anything in Hollywood Homicide, which is supposed to be a comedy ... I think.   

I wonder if anyone behind this picture knew what they were making.  Is this a hard-boiled detective story?  Is it a comedy?  Is it a tribute to rap?  Is it a nod toward Motown?  WHAT THE HELL IS THIS MOVIE?!?  It sure isn't funny, suspenseful, original, action-packed, or even worth the 12 boxes of Milk Duds you'll suck down, hoping to keep yourself awake during one of the longest two hours that you'll ever spend being "entertained."   

The film's two screenwriters seemed to be working on two separate films, which ended up coming together about as smoothly as a cat and a Zebra, trying to mate.  Co-Writer and Director, Ron Shelton (Tin Cup, White Men Can't Jump), wanted to make your typical "buddy-cop" picture, while screenwriter, Robert Souza wanted to put funny anecdotes on the screen, yanked from his 22 years on the LAPD.  The resulting potpourri of stink, leaves Hollywood Homicide smelling an awful lot like the buddy-cop pic that Eddie Murphy and Robert De Niro starred in last year, which was in and out of theaters before a person could yell SHOWTIME! 

Detective Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford) is placed with K. C. Calden (Josh Hartnett), and the reluctant partners are sent out to solve the case of a slaughtered rap band.  The story was ripped straight from the headlines, but the newspaper it was ripped from was about 3 years old.  And the plot that comes of it is far more tired than the three-year-old story, itself.  It becomes obvious that the Co-Screenwriter, Souza, wooed Co-Screenwriter and Director, Shelton, to his "human" side of the story, which puts cops in awkward positions, in hopes of getting a few cheap laughs. 

Joe Gavilan, a cranky vet, not too enthused about taking on the young K. C. Calden as a partner (none of us saw that in the four Lethal Weapon films), moonlights as a lousy real-estate agent (much like De Niro made lousy pottery in his spare-time, in Showtime).  He's currently trying to get himself out of the financial dumps that he's in, by securing the real-estate listing of has-been movie producer Jerry Duran's (Martin Landau) mansion.  Landau plays the part of the curmudgeonly producer to a comical "T," and provides a large handful of the small number of comedic moments in Hollywood Homicide that actually work.   

K. C. is also busy moonlighting.  He's pursuing an acting career (just like Eddie Murphy's character was in Showtime), while teaching Yoga.  He tries to keep this hidden from the force -- Gavilan in particular -- but isn't always successful.  Both Hartnett and Ford do fine in their respective roles, but the fun fizzles whenever the two come together.  I would like to say that the chemistry between the actors is disappointing, but I'm really unable to comment on their chemistry at all, being that there isn't any.  The two can't even match what Ford managed with Anne Heche, in Six Days Seven Nights.   

The film gets so bogged down in subplots and out-of-character moments for the stars that it essentially forgets about the plot.  In lieu of tying up the loose ends left in the picture, the filmmakers decide to end it with a poorly-paced car-chase, meant to please the action fans, who didn't get enough of this crap with last week's 2 Fast 2 Furious.  The film goes from action to comedy and back to action again, in a very disjointed manner (notice how, in the Lethal Weapon franchise, the comedy and action blends, without the audience so much as noticing).

The only constant in the picture is the excessively polished camera-work and overuse of palm trees.  It feels as though the producers were filming an L.A. infomercial, on Digital Video.  I expected Governor Gray Davis to make a sales pitch for the city, by the end of the ad ... er ... movie.  "Come to California," he would enthusiastically say, "the land where it's sunny all the time, and our cops all look like Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett!" 

If the studio would have removed the "Homicide" from the title, the film would have been blessed with the perfect name.  Hollywood Homicide is a postcard from the City of Angels, sent out to the rest of the world.  Much like a postcard, it's glossy, slick and entirely without substance. Save your money for something more intelligent, such as Dumb and Dumberer.

On a scale of 1-10?

3

Agree? Disagree? Feeling bored and wanna write a letter that you'll probably never get a response to?  Email me at alex@juicycerebellum.com

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Text (Copyright) 2003 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved].