Hollywood Homicide

"Grim"

Hollywood Homicide Review


Ron Shelton fans (you know who you are) will be happy to hear that Hollywood Homicide improves on Dark Blue, the director's failed LAPD endeavor from earlier this year. But that's like saying white paint tastes a little better than purple paint. For the sake of your health, neither should be ingested.

As part of its tired buddy-cop routine, Homicide suggests that everyone in La La Land works one career but dreams of another. Cops want to be real estate brokers, musicians want to be actors. So it's only appropriate that the film plays along with this concept, laboring as a police investigation by day and moonlighting as an entertainment industry spoof after hours.

At this rate, Homicide should quit its day job. Shelton coerces a handful of noteworthy performances from his cast, but does nothing with his paint-by-numbers detective story. The director would rather bite the Hollywood hand that feeds him, so he focuses his energies on showbiz jabs and leaves us with a case so basic and dull that the cops solving it can audition and show available properties in between clues.

That's right, even Shelton's protagonists juggle dual roles. Veteran detective Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford) spends more time peddling real estate than he does apprehending perps. His partner, K.C. Calden (Josh Hartnett), dreams of movie stardom and teaches yoga to pay the bills. Calden's so eager for his big break, he'd accept a role in a buddy-cop flick like this. Now that's desperate.

During what little free time they have, the detectives investigate the gangland-style murder of an up-and-coming rap group, H20 Klick. One suspect, menacing record producer Sartain (Isaiah Washington), leaps to the surface. And after bumbling through the usual hoops, Gavilan and Calden end up pursuing Sartain down Hollywood Boulevard in a choppy chase sequence.

Everyone's a star in Hollywood, so Shelton crams Homicide with more cameos than a Puff Daddy record. Master P and Dr. Dre represent hip-hop's oldest school, while Gladys Knight and Smoky Robinson will have Motown groupies pointing at the screen. At the very least, the musical jams around the supper tables had to be entertaining for the cast and crew.

Nothing on screen should surprise the veterans of "mismatched partner" pictures. Even the most experienced filmgoer, though, will be surprised by Ford's effort. He really tries instead of mailing it in, but acting is a series of gives and takes, and the star gets nothing in return from a lifeless Hartnett. Instead, his interactions with a sinister Washington and the reliable Bruce Greenwood snap the surly star out of his slumber every few minutes.

The rest of us will be kept awake by the blink-and-you-missed-it digs at the industry, including a slight Pete Townsend gag played by Monty Python veteran Eric Idle and an agent who remains on the phone during a shootout in his office so he can lobby for perks for his celebrity client. The humor can be wacky, as when Ford confiscates a woman's bicycle so he can peddle down Hollywood Boulevard in hot pursuit. But it's restrained enough so that Middle America can follow along, shaking their heads in disbelief at those crazy "Left Coast" folk.

Anyone else hearing the Pee-Wee's Big Adventure theme song?



Hollywood Homicide

Facts and Figures

Run time: 116 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th June 2003

Box Office USA: $30.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $51.1M

Budget: $75M

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: Revolution Studios, Columbia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 30%
Fresh: 47 Rotten: 112

IMDB: 5.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Sgt. Joe Gavilan, as Det. K.C. Calden, as Ruby, as Lt. Bennie Macko, as Leroy Wasley, as Wanda, as Olivia Robidoux, as Danny Broome, as Commander Preston

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