Friday, June 4, 2010

"Hollywood Homicide" (2003)

"Hollywood Homicide" (2003)
Starring Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett and Lena Olin
Written by Ron Shelton and Robert Souza
Directed by Ron Shelton

There is exactly one funny scene in "Hollywood Homicide."  It's the only time that the movie has any sense of energy or real wit, and it occurs about two-thirds of the way through a solid two-hour movie.

Joe Gavilan (Ford) and KC Calden (Josh Hartnett) are detectives in the Hollywood division of the LAPD.  Neither of them is particularly happy at the moment; Gavilan, attempting to moonlight as a real estate broker, has all of his assets tied up in a house he can't seem to sell and Calden wants to quit being a cop to pursue his acting dreams.  One night, an up and coming rap group known as H2OClick is gunned down in cold blood at an LA night club.  Their childhood friend and songwriter, K-Ro, manages to survive and escapes.  Gavilan and Calden are assigned the case, and must contend with their own personal issues, as well as an Internal Investigations detective with a grudge against Gavilan and some other random junk that pops up along the way to pad out the fact that there's about ten minutes of plot in "Hollywood Homicide."

The fact that Josh Hartnett's character wants to pursue acting dreams is almost funnier than every joke in this movie.  Hartnett isn't just wooden, he's practically the entire forest.  He completely lacks in any kind of personality, and the only funny scenes he has in this supposed action-comedy is when he does yoga.  Yeah, that's right - yoga.

This brings me to that one funny scene I mentioned earlier - Gavilan and Calden have been brought in for interrogation by crooked IA detective Benny Macko (the always excellent Bruce Greenwood).  When put into the interrogation rooms, they immediately take control of the situation.  Gavilan taunts his interrogator by constantly answering his cell phone and attempting to broker a $7 million real estate deal between a rap producer and a retired movie producer (Martin Landau!) while Calden, that's right, Calden does yoga on the table in the interrogation room and then gives his interrogator a massage

The whole scene is zippy.  The cast is totally into it, and it just pops.  If the rest of the movie had been as good as that one scene, "Hollywood Homicide" would be a great action comedy.  But it's not.  It's really, really not.  For most of the movie, Harrison Ford does the thing he's done for the last fifteen years or so - look bored.  He sleepwalks through the part, aside from a few splashes of the old charming energy he once had.  Hartnett is worse because at least with him, we know that he's just a shitty actor all around and not just slumming it in his twilight years.

The finale of the movie is a wild car chase that wishes it was as wild as the description would seem on paper (or the on-screen dialogue would have you believe).  It's decently constructed, but eventually falls apart.  The rooftop fight between Gavilan and the evil record producer (yeah, I just ruined the 'mystery' for you) is just weak.  The same goes for Calden vs the corrupt former cop who works for the evil record producer who, it just so happens to turn out, killed Calden's father. 

So, yeah, "Hollywood Homicide" stinks.  The plot basically boils down to: an evil record producer has a hit squad murder one of his best acts to keep the others in line.  Two cops manage to find the one witness who knows everything who happens to be hiding out at his mom's house, then enlist a psychic to track down the evil record producer and his murderous, corrupt former cop head of security who just happens to have murdered one of the good cops' fathers....

Wait, I can't go on.  I'm just gonna end it right here. Jebus.