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"Hollywood Homicide"

Directed by Ron Shelton.
Written by Robert Souza and Ron Shelton.
Starring Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett.
Release Year:  2003 
Review Date:  6/18/03 


I tricked...uh, asked my friend Kern to tag along for the inevitable viewing of the new Harrison Ford/Josh Hartnett comedy “Hollywood Homicide” and through about the film’s first 30 minutes, I was quite sure I was witnessing the worst disaster in the history of buddy-cop films.

Then, it got...MARGINALLY better.  To the point where Kern and I agreed afterwards that there is one scene you absolutely have to see when the film comes out on video.  Hartnett’s character is running down a criminal in the film’s end chase sequence and has to jump onto a kiosk from a path above a courtyard.  The way the stunt double for Hartnett hits the kiosk is amongst the most painful-looking stunts I have ever witnessed, and I am convinced that the stunt guy had at least a concussion after it was all done.  If any of you have seen this film, you must tell me that you agree...shocking stuff.

The movie as a whole is shocking too...because this is marginal Hard Vice stuff, especially given the talent level.  You’ve got rising star Hartnett, established hero Ford, and a sick number of stars in cameo roles here.  From rap stars (Kurupt, Master P, and one of the guys from Outkast) to soul singers (Smokey Robinson???) to Oscar winners (Martin Landau) to 40-something actresses so artificial (note to Lolita Davidovich--retire) that I wasn’t sure what part of her face was still hers anymore.  All of the actors are trying to figure out just what Former Great Director Ron Shelton (genius behind “Bull Durham”, “White Men Can’t Jump”, and “Tin Cup”) wants them to do, because the script is all over the map and “Hollywood Homicide” has maybe the biggest identity crisis of any film I have seen this year, or maybe the last couple of years.

Remember the first time you saw the trailer for this?  If you were like me, you looked over at Brett Stone and said “What the fuck is this??”  I couldn’t tell if it wanted to be a straight comedy, a buddy-cop action-comedy, a cop drama, a sarcastic take on 50s cop movies or a parody of the Hollywood establishment.  The movie has at least two solid throwaway subplots, one involving an Internal Affairs investigation where IA wants to know how the Ford character makes any money, and one where Ford struggles on the side as a Los Angeles realtor to make extra money.  It has you believing that Ford might be a romantic, or maybe that Hartnett has a little remorse for what happened to his dead father.  The film has at least four scenes by my count that should have gone straight to the Deleted Scenes section of the DVD.

All the while, I was sitting there with Kern saying “I just don’t give a rat’s ass!”  No character development, no meaningful plot, editing so poor that Kern noted Hartnett’s hair seemed to be in a different position for each take during the same scene.  And, there are just bad production mistakes in a film made by professionals in Los Angeles--shots where one can clearly see production assistants holding back fans on a sidewalk, or camera crews in the reflection of sunglasses, or a really fatal error when a Ford stunt double is shot so close that anybody can tell it’s not Ford; if you’re going to do that, you might as well make it a joke and have some Asian guy play the Ford character.  Bad.  The worst error?  Thinking that any sane American would want to see a sex scene--no matter how PG-13 it is--with Ford and Lena Olin; I was honestly creeped out when Ford is necking Olin while wearing aviator sunglasses and eating a donut.  Fucking creeped out!!

But, I did laugh about a half-dozen times, and because the film is SO bad, the Unintentional Comedy Rating for “Hollywood Homicide” is off the charts.  This film also features The Worst Cameo in the History of Former Stars, a part by Lou Diamond Phillips so shameful that he should consider never working in American film again.

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09