I'm embarrassed for anyone connected with “Hollywood Homicide”. Director and co-writer Ron Shelton best known for sports themed films like “White Men Can’t Jump” and “Bull Durham” has certainly done better work. Even pretty boy Josh Hartnett is capable of better. His performance in “O” the modern adaptation of “Othello” was terrific. However with his performance here and in the recent “40 Days and 40 Nights” he’s in real danger. After all, at some point you go from being known as a good actor who’s made a few bad choices to a bad actor that makes bad movies.
Which brings me to Harrison Ford. Indy, what have you done? I realize he’s a long time removed from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Star Wars” but ye’ gods, what could he be thinking? His performance as the washed up detective Joe Gavilan is so rote, so mechanical he could have performed it during an out of body experience, which given the material is understandable.
He and Mr. Hartnett play a mismatched pair of cops drawn into a homicide investigation. A rap act has been murdered and they’re sent to investigate. Pretty soon it’s clear that a record label mogul, a mix between P. Diddy and Suge Knight, is behind the murders. Trust me, I’m giving nothing away here, this is established within the film’s first fifteen minutes.
I could go into detail on the paper-thin plot but I don’t think it would be fair, to you of course, but mostly to me. After all, I had to sit through it once already. If you’ve seen any of the "cop buddy" films, you know the story. While I have no proof, the shifts in tonality throughout the film are so abrupt and without context that it feels like it was cobbled together by not only the two credited writer's but another half dozen script doctors.
I can just see the executives giving notes to the hapless writers, “punch this up, we need a joke here,” or “add some drama here.” What we’re left with is such a complete mishmash of tone and style that it’s unclear whether we’re supposed to laugh or cry. I mostly felt like crying.
I suppose the pairing of Mr. Hartnett and Mr. Ford was dreamed up by some producer or studio executive to give “Hollywood Homicide” broad demographic appeal. You know, the aging boomer and young stud. But the premise is inherently flawed. What this seemingly odd pair shares is an ambivalence for their job. Mr. Ford’s Joe Gavilan is struggling on his cop salary so he has to moonlight as a real estate agent to make ends meet. Meanwhile for his extra dough Mr. Hartnett’s K.C. Calden teaches yoga and dreams of quitting the force and becoming an actor. In fact the two characters have such little interest in their day jobs it’s hard to imagine why an audience should care. I implore you, avoid this garbage at all costs. Consider yourself warned. I’m Erik Petersen for Movie Magazine.
© 2003 - Erik Petersen - Air Date: 6/18/03
USA - 2003