SHOULD “HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE” BE INVESTIGATED?

CRITIC DOCTOR EXAMINES: Colin Covert (startribune.com), Kevin Carr (filmthreat.com), Rick Groen (globeandemail.com), Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times), Peter Sobczynski (criticdoctor.com), Margaret McGurk (cincinnatti.com), Hazel-Dawn Dumpert (laweekly.com), Addison MacDonald (premier.com)

*** (out of 5 stars)

The movie trailer for the new buddy cop film “Hollywood Homicide” looked just plain stupid. They even teamed up a very unlikely pair – Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett. Is this new detective movie worth investigating?

“Hollywood Homicide” is a movie about two Los Angeles homicide detectives – Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford) and K.C. Calden (Josh Hartnett) – who investigate the brutal murder of a rap group slayed on stage. Their ambitions in life far exceed the LAPD, though. Joe is moonlighting as a real estate broker and K.C. dreams of becoming an actor. Their worlds collide in a movie that tries to be funny and serious and even includes those car chase scenes we’ve seen in countless cop flicks.

Colin Covert (startribune.com) said, “I left the theater grinning from ear to ear. Any police thriller that offers a chase scene involving a paddle boat earns a special place in my heart.”

Attention all Hollywood filmmakers who want to make a police thriller. Buy a paddle boat! Unfortunately, Colin – the paddle boat isn’t going to save this movie from drowning in a flood of subplots that outnumber all combined clues for this rap murder case. Kevin Carr (filmthreat.com) said, “The script is so muddled with unnecessary subplots that removing them would have left a weak core story that lasted only about 10 minutes. There’s more padding in this film than in Anna Nicole Smith’s backside.”

Rick Groen (globeandemail.com) said, “Ten minutes in, and the verdict is already clear: This is a flick that goes both ways. It’s funny, then it’s not; it’s cooking, then it isn’t; it’s different, then it ain’t. We’re left sputtering right along with the picture, torn between an unflagging admiration for what Shelton is trying to do and a lingering disappointment that he’s not doing it well enough consistently enough.”

All this confusion takes away from the comedy, too.

Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) said, “You don’t feel he’s going for laughs when he tries to sell the club owner a house, while the two of them are standing in fresh pools of blood, metaphorically speaking; you feel he desperately needs to unload the house.”

You’re half right here, Roger. Yeah, we sense his desperation to get a sale, but it’s pretty obvious filmmakers were going for a laugh in this scene. Gavilan abruptly drops his tough cop mode for a crafty sales pitch. I think I even smiled during that scene, but didn’t let out any audible noise. Why? It felt forced! A lot of scenes came across like that.

Peter Sobczynski (criticdoctor.com) said, “A climactic chase spilling into a Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony is never as funny as it thinks it is.” Margaret McGurk (cincinnatti.com) adds, “Cell phones ring constantly and never go unanswered, so that Galivan ends up negotiating a real estate deal in the middle of a hot pursuit. It feels like it should be funny, but it really isn’t.”

There are few scenes I found pretty funny, like watching Ford on a girl’s bicycle pursuing a fleeing criminal – or when both cops are interviewed by internal affairs and are not exactly very cooperative. The comedy in this film is hard to pull off because we’ve seen most of this stuff before – and there really isn’t a lot of chemistry between Ford and Hartnett. Hartnett is the main problem here.

Kevin Carr said, “In a weak attempt to turn on the under-30 crowd, Harry’s co-star is Josh Hartnett, who meanders through this film with his sleepy look of constipation and very little acting.” Hazel-Dawn Dumpert (laweekly.com) adds, “Ford carries what he can, but pretty and sullen Hartnett barely comes to life, leaving his partner stranded, and straining.”

I guess this was a pretty easy paycheck for both actors and they both appeared to have fun making the movie. It just wasn’t worth using a portion of my paycheck to watch this film in a theater.

Addison MacDonald (premier.com) summed the movie up best, “In the end, while the film isn’t a complete failure, it’s not big-screen material, either. It seems that ‘Hollywood Homicide’ would find a fitting home at Hollywood Video.”

If you want to investigate “Hollywood Homicide,” here is one clue – wait for the video.

– CRITIC DOCTOR




Posted on June 25, 2003 in Features by
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