Hollywood Homicide Review
By Shawn McKenzie 06/13/2003
Harrison Ford doesn’t make comedies too often, so I was looking forward to Hollywood Homicide. I figure he makes one comedy per decade. In the ‘70s, it was The Frisco Kid (I don’t count American Graffiti, since it was before he was big, and it was just an extended cameo.) In the ‘80s, it was Working Girl. In the ‘90s, it was Six Days Seven Nights (I don’t count Sabrina, because I’m not sure it was a comedy, but just a romance movie. It didn’t make me laugh at least.) His comedy in the first decade of the 21st century is this odd buddy cop comedy that has way too much plot and not a lot of sense.
Joe Gavilan (Ford) and K.C. Calden (Josh Hartnett) are detectives who work in the homicide division of the Hollywood police department. They have been partners for a few months now, and neither of them seems too thrilled to be a cop. The veteran partner, Joe, moonlights as a real estate broker to support three ex-wives and two kids. The latest love of his life is a radio psychic named Ruby (Lena Olin.) The rookie partner, K.C., moonlights as a teacher for a yoga class filled with hotties (many of which he admits to sleeping with.) He only became a cop because his dad was one (and who mysteriously died in the line of duty), but he wants to quit the force to become an actor. He is currently practicing to be the Stanley Kowalski character in a local play performance of A Streetcar Named Desire. They are both in the middle of their “other” jobs when their boss, Lieutenant Leon Fuqua (Keith David), calls them to investigate the quadruple homicide of rap group called H2O Click in a city club. The club’s owner, Julius Armas (Percy “Master P” Miller), unfortunately didn’t see anything. He does happen to bring up the fact that he is looking for a new house, and is willing to spend around $6 million for it. This makes Joe happy and he gives Julius his card. He arranges for a sale of a house owned by movie producer Jerry Duran (Martin Landau) to Julius, though the negotiations prove difficult. Anyway…back to the case. They discover in their investigation that Antoine Sartain (Isaiah Washington), a Suge Knight-like ex-con and music mogul, is somehow tied to the murders. He is the man who had signed H2O Click to his label, but for reasons I forgot, he had to have them knocked off. Former police detective and now hitman Leroy Wasley (Dwight Yoakam) acts as Antoine’s bodyguard and does all of his dirty work. He was K.C.’s dad’s former partner, and he might know something about his death. Things get worse for Joe. Bennie Macko (Bruce Greenwood), an Internal Affairs investigator, has a gripe against Joe. He is using all of his resources to take Joe down. Bennie has several things to investigate, including Joe’s ability to support his ex-wives and kids, and still have a nice house on a cop/real estate broker salary (actually, I was wondering that too.) He is also investigating Joe’s dealings with a local madam, Cleo (Lolita Davidovich), an informant he has yet to register, and one of her “girls,” an undercover male cop in drag named Wanda (Lou Diamond Phillips.) Finally, he just doesn’t like Joe because Joe is dating Ruby, his ex-girlfriend. Joe had to juggle solving the case, brokering the deal between Julius and Jerry, and deal with Bennie. Oh, and he also has another house that he has been trying to unload for a long time, and if he doesn’t sell it, he will go broke. I think I have given you all the important plot points!
Did that plot description confuse you? Don’t worry, it confused me too. As you can tell, too many useless characters make just above a cameo in this film. A few I didn’t mention were Gladys Knight as a former Motown backup singer named Olivia Robidoux, rapper Kurupt as her son who knows something about the murders, and Frank Sinatra Jr. as Marty Wheeler, a character I don’t remember. These are all characters that had something to do with the movie, but it is so jumbled that I really don’t recall their purposes. Throw in time-killing cameos by Eric Idle, Smokey Robinson, and Robert Wagner, and you have one confusing movie filled with way too many characters that have little to no reason to exist.
I also didn’t understand the marketing of this movie. Why did they first hype it as a comedy, then change their strategy by having the commercials use Mr. Serious Voiceover and compare it to Lethal Weapon? By the time I saw the movie, I wasn’t sure if it was actually still a comedy.
It was a comedy, but in the vein of Beverly Hills Cop or 48 Hours. The funniest thing I liked about the movie was how the two main characters multi-tasked throughout the movie. Joe would be on his cell brokering deals while chasing the bad guys. K.C. practiced his lines while assisting in the investigation. I also thought the congestion of helicopters covering Joe’s pursuit of a bad guy was funny (though I was thinking while I was watching it that he might be helped in the chase if he could hear the audio of the coverage as he was chasing the bad guy.)
While it’s good to see Ford do some comedy, he could have done better than play the “old cop” role in this complicated, puzzling movie. The director, Ron Shelton, wrote this movie, though he fairs better in sports-themed movies, like Bull Durham, White Men Can’t Jump, and Cobb. Hollywood Homicide has a
few laughs, but not enough to catch this decade’s Ford comedy in the theater. Let’s hope he has better luck in 2010!
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