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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Hollywood Homicide (review)

Dear Harrison

Dear Harrison,

It’s over. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but that’s the way it is. I don’t think you can honestly say that this comes as a surprise — certainly, I’ve been feeling the strain in our relationship for several years now.

You know you were one of my first loves, and definitely the most enduring. Ever since you snarked your way into my heart with your shit-eating grin and roguish cockiness in The Empire Strikes Back, I’ve been madly in love with you. We had a lotta good years, good Indiana Jones and Jack Ryan years, and I still look back on that time with a great deal of fondness and very happy memories, and I relive them often. They were such good times that I was even able to forgive you Regarding Henry, and I don’t think just anyone could say that.

But there’s only so much a girl can endure and only so far that love can take you. I know I began to feel that, somehow, the magic had gone with the likes of Random Hearts and What Lies Beneath. What were you thinking? How could you betray me like that, after all our adventures together? Maybe it’s me — maybe I’m just uncomfortable with the idea of you growing old. But it’s like you’ve just given in and given up. You’re not the same bold, brave man I fell in love with.

And Hollywood Homicide just proves it. I suppose I can appreciate that you’re trying to reinvent yourself — if you can’t be the action hero (as maybe K-19: The Widowmaker proved, but honestly, sweetheart, I think the really bad phony Russian accent had a lot to do with the failure of that one), you can at least be the action-comedy hero. But for this mad scheme to have had even a sliver of chance of succeeding, the movie would have to be, you know, funny.

I mean, seriously, did anybody involved truly believe that any of these was new or clever or original or humorous? Two cops muddled in the “bizarre” culture of Southern California might conceivably be funny, but come on: Your cop sells real estate on the side? Your young partner is into yoga and really wants to be an actor? And your cell phones never stop ringing? Maybe if the entire rest of the world hadn’t already seen umpteen attempts to satirize the foibles of Los Angelenos it might have worked. But we have. Get Shorty did it well. Clueless did it well. But Hollywood Homicide would be just plain sad if it weren’t so embarrassing — the phrase “lead balloon” comes to mind. I haven’t squirmed more in my seat during a film this year, with the sole exception of Kangaroo Jack. Harrison, sweetheart, you’re in the company of a CGI marsupial here.

How could you do this to me? This was an excruciating experience. How am I supposed to not think that you’ve given up on yourself when you can portray a character whom one moment has the “brilliant” idea to consult your radio-psychic girlfriend for a lead on your case and in literally the next breath disparages her “talent”? It doesn’t make sense. I wanted to cry for you. How am I not supposed to think you’ve given up on yourself when you’re up against the likes of Josh Hartnett? I know you hoped to look good in comparison, and of course you do, but honestly, a trained monkey would look good next to a pretty-boy pinup with only his big brown puppy-dog eyes to recommend him. How am I not supposed to think you’ve given up on yourself when you choose to do this wannabe Lethal Weapon thing and yet you’re so insecure about it that you have to be both Danny Glover and Mel Gibson?

Like I said, it’s sad, and I just can’t take it anymore.

I suppose I might as well tell you, because you’ll hear it from someone else eventually, but I’ve been seeing your costar Bruce Greenwood. And no, it’s not just that he’s younger than you, or incredible gorgeous. It’s that you spend the entire film acting like you’re God’s gift to moviegoers, like we should be privileged just be in your presence, and you don’t need to do anything to court us. But Bruce, he understands what a woman needs — he’s there. He’s not just sleepwalking, not just going through the motions, even when it would have been so easy for him to do that, in the clichéd role of the bad-guy Internal Affairs cop. You could learn a thing or two from him.

I’ve changed the locks. Please don’t call.

MaryAnn


MPAA: rated PG-13 for violence, sexual situations and language

viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb
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