Hollywood Homicide
3 out of 5 stars
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Director-cowriter Shelton does a nice spin on the standard cop comedy with this rambunctious action movie. Detective Joe Gavilan (Ford) works in Hollywood homicide by day and sells houses in his spare time, while also flirting shamelessly with the lovely radio psychic Ruby (Olin). His partner is the rookie KC Calden (Hartnett), who really wants to be an actor. Together they're investigating a multiple murder in a hip-hop club, for which all paths lead to a ruthless record exec (Washington) and his vile ex-cop henchman (Yoakam). Meanwhile, an internal affairs cop with a grudge (Greenwood) is going after Joe with everything he has.

This is the standard cop thang, down to every plot detail; the film's basically a spoof played dead straight by the cast. Well not entirely straight. Ford has so much fun with his character that it's infectious--his cheeky, bracing performance single-handedly makes the film work, because the over-complicated plot certainly doesn't. Hartnett does his best to keep up with the pro, and succeeds nicely, especially when engaging in his side obsessions with acting and zen-tantra-yoga. Meanwhile, Olin is wonderfully sexy, while Davidovich is surprisingly underused. And there are lots of thoroughly entertaining cameos (Idle's is wickedly hilarious!).

Shelton has great fun playing with Hollywood stereotypes--glamour, money, sex, violence, acting, self-help, real estate, fake emotion. Even the film's big skirmishes are a twist on typical movie nonsense, poking fun at stunts and action cliches. And it's not just the movies; there's a lot of Motown and rap going on, from cast members to character-defining mobile phone ringtones. So it's a pity the story is so unfocussed, choppy and ultimately silly. In the end there's no real point to the film at all, beyond a bit of fluffy entertainment. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but with this cast and filmmaker you expect a lot more. The best line is uttered by a helicopter news reporter during the big climax in and around Grauman's Chinese Theatre: "I've never seen such drama in Hollywood before!"

cert 15tbc themes, violence, language, innuendo 10.Jul.03

dir Ron Shelton
scr Robert Souza, Ron Shelton
with Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett, Bruce Greenwood, Lena Olin, Martin Landau, Isaiah Washington, Master P, Lolita Davidovich, Keith David, Dwight Yoakam, Gladys Knight, Kurupt, Lou Diamond Phillips, Eric Idle, Robert Wagner, Smokey Robinson
release US 13.Jun.03; UK 5.Sep.03
03/US 1h56

Freeze! Hartnett and Ford take charge...

ford hartnett greenwood
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2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall