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Published on June 1st, 2008 | by simeon


Hollywood Homicide

In the time honored tradition of summer buddy cop films, writer-director Ron Shelton has taking a loving stab at the genre and created an interesting and at times amusing film called “Hollywood Homicide” The film stars Harrison Ford as Homicide Detective Joe Gavilan, a man who is up to his eyelids in debt as his dabbling in real estate and three alimony payments have left him in dire financial straits.

While trying to unload a property in which he has invested all of his money, Joe receives a call that four people have been killed in a music club after performing. Arriving on the scene with his partner of four months, K.C. Calden (Josh Hartnett), the two quickly learn that there was a witness to the killings and set out to investigate the crime, and locate the witness who may be able to shed light on the killings. At this point the film quickly shifts gears from that of a gritty cop film and instead becomes a comedy that parodies many films in the genre.

It seems that Calden is also unhappy with being a police officer as he dreams of becoming an actor. Calden is prepping for an acting showcase on Friday night, and frets over learning his lines, and if any agents will be showing up, he is so concerned, that he even gets Joe to run lines with him as they drive to locations during their investigation. Joe on the other hand is facing the wrath of a sadistic Internal Affairs officer named Bennie Macko (Bruce Greenwood) who is determined to get back at Joe for making him look bad during a case he bungled years ago.
The interesting thing about this film, is that while we do see the two officers conducting an investigation, the majority of the film is taken up by side issues such as Joe’s constant efforts to land and close two giant real estate deals, the Internal Affairs investigation, and Calden’s spiritualism, bedding of women who’s names he cant remember and pursuit of his acting career. There are some subplots such as Calden being haunted by the death of his father whose case files have been sealed, and Joe being involved with a radio psychic (Lena Olin), and of course his constant financial struggles.

This film is a difficult one to review as the film lacks any real tension or deep plot, and the characters sort of amble through the investigation rather than tackle it head on as most film and television cops due. More screen time is devoted to their off the case exploits, yet those often have some very funny moments. There is an interrogation scene that is hysterical and a very interesting car chase that has some nice variations on what has become a time worn segment. The sight of Ford in hot pursuit on a children’s bicycle festooned with balloons is a blast as are other moments in the film.

That being said, the film is enjoyable to watch and at times funny much to the great work by Ford who makes what could be a bad film enjoyable simply by his presence. Hartnett does well with a role that is little more than that of a comedic sidekick. As a cop film “Hollywood Homicide” is not very good but as comedy and parody of that genre it is an unevenly paced film that at times works. Despite the flaws, the overall experience is a good summer afternoon movie.

3 stars out of 5

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