Hollywood Homicide

Hollywood Homicide is not a cop movie. Okay, it is, but just barely. From all appearances, it looks like a huge compilation of police movie cliches. The older, grizzled veteran and the younger, inexperienced cop, the corrupt department veterans, gangsta rap violence, extended car chases, hooker informants, and a little bit of everything else. Well, it's not really a cop movie. In fact, part of writer/director Ron Shelton's (Dark Blue, Play It to the Bone) joke is that being a cop gets in the way in the lives of his two protagonists. Shelton is great at writing scripts where there is snappy dialogue and plenty of hetero male bonding and tries to do it again here, with mixed results. He succumbs to the desire to tie things together and eventually winds up with a less-than-stellar story instead of opting for the chaos he began with.

Harrison Ford (K-19: The Widowmaker, What Lies Beneath) is Joe Gavilan, a detective/real estate agent short on money and intent on trying to sell a house that nobody wants. He picks up his cell phone every time it rings, regardless of where he is. His partner K.C. Calden (Josh Hartnett, Black Hawk Down, 40 Days & 40 Nights) teaches yoga, has a way with women, and is an aspiring actor. Although Shelton and co-writer Robert Souza initially try to play up the old cop/young cop routine they seem to forget it at times. It's clear that the two detectives do get along and have been partners for some time, and their banter is more comical and friendly than mean. Ford doing comedy is another matter. Part of the reason why Hollywood Homicide never really goes anywhere is that Ford's comedic skills are somewhat lacking. He looks quite unhappy to be there, as is increasingly common in his recent film efforts. It's nice that he's trying to diversify, but it's not going so well. Hartnett has yet to develop the ability to succeed as a leading man, but that's okay because all that Hollywood Homicide requires of him is to look cute and act badly.

Gavilan and Calden are assigned to investigate a shooting of an up-and-coming rap crew in Julius Armas' (Master P, Dark Blue, Undisputed) club. Things look like they're leading back to Sartain (Isaiah Washington, Ghost Ship, Welcome to Collinwood), the crew's producer, but the proof is thin. It is clear from the get go that things will not progress normally. Armas is looking for a house, which piques Gavilan's interest. Calden discovers he knows some of the people in Sartain's employ, who are also trying to break into Hollywood. At the same time, Bennie Macko (Bruce Greenwood, The Core, Below) is with IA and nurses an old grudge against Gavilan. The murder investigation takes a second seat to all sorts of random tangents meant to amuse. It is amusing for a little while, but doesn't really go anywhere.

Hollywood Homicide then decides to get serious, which is a mistake. By changing the overall tone of the film, it fails to be a full comedy or a full drama. Shelton's usual talent for dialogue is missing, as is most of the plot. The end of the film wraps up some very disparate plots a little too nicely, giving everything a forced feel to it. Also present are some bizarre cameos by people like Lou Diamond Phillips, Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight. The film is a little too scattered to amount to anything, and some bad acting on the part of Ford does not help.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 51 minutes, Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual situations, and language.

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