Hollywood Homicide

By Mark Ramsey | 2003/06/13

When it comes to hilarity, who doesn’t think of the first names in comedy, Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett? And don’t even get me started on the comedic stylings of Lou Diamond Phillips and Frank Sinatra, Jr!

We’re in Hollywood, and there’s been a homicide! Rappers have been killed, and there’s a mystery to be solved. “Yeah,” said Harrison, “like what what happened to the ‘w’ in ‘wrapper?’”

It’s fitting that Hollywood Homicide spends much of its running time careening madly across LA freeways, because director/writer Ron Shelton has jackknifed and precipitated a 20-career pileup.

Case in point: Shelton seems determined to keep on casting Lolita Davidovich despite oodles of evidence proving Lolita couldn’t sell tickets if she lost her razor and become “the Bearded Lady of the Silver Screen.”

hollywoodhomicide_view.jpgHarrison’s sweet on Lena Olin, a radio psychic who must have called in sick the day the spirit world vibed “you will peak in The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Harrison and Lena make passionate love, thus defying the usual Hollywood convention that the combined age of two lovers should never exceed the age of the film industry itself.

At least Harrison knows how to handle his piece – and he’s good with a gun, too!


(sexy, to Harrison)

“Oh Detective, you found me!”


“Is that a series of veins popping out of your temples, or are you happy to see me?”

The press notes describe Harrison Ford’s detective character as “weary,” which is Hollywood-speak for “over 40.” And weary he certainly is – in fact he’s snoozing through most of this movie. He awakens just in time to go downtown on Lena in one last, desperate hunt for the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Harrison, if you’re chased by a boulder on your way out, run!

But wait, what about the murder!?

Together, Josh and Harrison scour the scene and gather evidence: An earring here, a puddle of pee there. Either these are clues to a crime or signs of Gloria Stuart!

Naturally, these unlikely clues lead straight to the perps … and to Dwight Yoakam. I don’t know about you, but if I found a trail leading to Dwight Yoakam I’d expect an anthill at the other end.

This is one of those movies which paints a sad truth about Los Angeles: No matter what their occupation, everyone in LA is a professional hyphenate – and “showbiz” is on one or both sides of the hyphen. Everybody’s got something to pitch, even if it’s an appearance on Love Chain: Gwyneth Paltrow, debuting June 25th on E! Entertainment Television (check local listings).


Enter Gladys Knight, esteemed R&B legend who belongs in front of the camera the way Ian McKellan belongs in front of the Pips. Somebody’s leaving on that midnight train to acting class!

Thrill of thrills! The uninitiated among you get to experience that peculiar-to-LA phenomenon of high-speed freeway chases televised live. Even when the chase disrupts a celebrity hands-in-cement ceremony down at Graumann’s Chinese Theater. Then again, the celebrity is Robert Wagner, so odds are his hands are covered in clay because he’s taking up pottery.

Detective Ford is running awkwardly all over the place like some kind of Gimp-iana Jones. He stops traffic, climbs buildings, crawls over rooftops, and waves a badge. Since when did Harrison Ford become Brian Dennehy?

Ah, the climactic rooftop confrontation! Just like Blade Runner! Except for the absence of all tension and dramatic oomph! Beaten to a bloody pulp, Harrison and the bad guy duke it out over a fan – because without fans Hollywood is only about vanity, ambition, egotism and superficiality. With fans, it’s all that – plus fans!

Hollywood Homicide is the most fun you can have without renting Cannonball Run 2. And if that sounds like a compliment, you haven’t rented Cannonball Run 2.

This is one cop-comedy where the audience knows its rights.

Especially the right to remain silent.

Photos Copyright ©2003 Columbia Pictures


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