Hollywood Homicide 

(PG-13) 2 stars

(PG-13) 2 stars
To give you a sense of how Hollywood Homicide plays out, I would need to write a rambling, overcomplicated 1,200-word review and then, at the last minute, hack it down to 600 words, artlessly trying to emphasize the funny parts. But it would be silly to waste so much time on an essentially pointless exercise, right? Hmmmm. Reportedly, although Hollywood Homicide was designated as a buddy cop comedy/drama from the beginning, the filmmakers were unsure how much of it should be drama and how much should be comedy. So unsure that they ended up re-cutting the production just a few weeks ago, after finally deciding that it should be primarily a comedy. The result is a mess; an affable, goofy one, to be sure, but still a mess, with mostly inert gags laid over a needlessly complex storyline with numerous subplots that go nowhere. Ron Shelton, the man behind White Men Can’t Jump, Tin Cup, the underrated Dark Blue and the classic Bull Durham, co-wrote (along with Robert Souza) and directed the film. The bad news is that it represents a career low for the talented Shelton. The good news is that, on some weird, stoner level, it still manages to entertain. The juiciest parts of Shelton’s previous films were the exchanges on the sides of the storyline. The same is true here, although there is a lot less juice this time around. Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett are the buddy cops and there is zero, zilch, nada chemistry between them. Every single scene featuring the two of them comes off like a first rehearsal. Thankfully, despite the wide gap in years between 20something Hartnett and 60-year-old Ford (who, indeed, is getting too old for this shit), the script does not mine laughs from the age difference. Instead, it tries to do so with their part-time jobs. Detective Joe Gavilan (Ford), with three marriages under his belt, is an Old School sort (his cell phone ringer plays the opening notes of “My Girl,” y’see) who dreams of being a successful real estate agent. And New Agey K.C. Calden (Hartnett), son of a slain cop, is a yoga instructor in his off-hours who dreams of becoming an actor (his cell phone ringer plays the opening of “Funkytown,” I think, which would make him fairly hip if he was 40). The big running gag is each of their attempts to do two jobs at once. A few of the jokes are even funny. As for the police business, the murder of several men at a local dance club leads the officers to Sartain (Isaiah Washington), a slick record label executive and star-maker who clearly is hiding something. Meanwhile, Officer Macko (Bruce Greenwood) of Internal Affairs is trying to build a case around Joe, who just happens to be dating his ex-girlfriend, Ruby (Lena Olin). Meanwhile, some freak, who may have ties to Sartain and/or Macko, is shooting people and then setting them on fire. Oh, and did I mention that K.C.’s father indicated that his killer may have been a cop? Don’t expect the see the cases solved by astute police work. For the climax of the whole damn movie, Joe and K.C. encounter the bad guy through a tip from a psychic. Good thing the filmmakers decided to focus on the comedy, eh? The few comic moments that work as intended come during the chase scenes. Some of the doing-part-time-work-while-on-the-job business is amusing and there’s a nice scene involving a slew of helicopters covering a chase. My favorite moment comes during another chase, when K.C. commandeers a vehicle with a mother and her children still inside. The kids scream, “We’re going to die!” K.C. responds by going into a New Age monologue on reincarnation, beginning with, “We’re all going to die … “ which, of course, terrifies the children even more. The rest is just a mess, with a mostly wasted supporting cast (Martin Landau manages to find the right groove for his brief time onscreen) and a slew of pointless cameos. Throughout it all, Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett just keep on going, with one first rehearsal scene after another until the film abruptly ends with one of the worst edits I have ever seen. Hollywood Homicide is an absolute wreck. Still, I found the clumsiness endearing somehow. Yes, the film is bad, but it is so amiable that … oops, time for an abrupt ending.

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