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Hollywood Homicide

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Jan
Hollywood Homicide
from Film Forum, 06/19/03

Director Ron Shelton's new thriller/comedy (thriledy?) Hollywood Homicide follows the antics of two detectives distracted by their off-duty interests. Detective Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford) is dabbling in real estate and struggling with alimony payments. K. C. Calden (Josh Hartnett) is torn between law enforcement and jumping in bed with the Beverly Hills ladies attending his yoga courses. Together they investigate the onstage murder of a rap group, and discover that the clues lead to a rap music kingpin notorious for punishing the artists who want out of their contracts. When Gavilan has the brilliant idea of having an affair with a psychic (Lena Olin) who is connected with a bad cop, things go from bad to worse, for them and for the audience.

David DiCerto (Catholic News Service) says, "The narrative is weighed down by drawn-out foot pursuits, car chases, and shootouts that have been similarly filmed umpteen times before. The sight of Ford sliding down an escalator banister isn't particularly funny, but then neither is this muddled movie."

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) says it "mindlessly (and rather aimlessly) ambles along for three-quarters of its running time, until it evolves into an elongated chase scene … [that's] hardly worth the wait. Part of the problem is that the film doesn't do a very good job of showing us the inner conflicts of its central characters."

Steven D. Greydanus (Decent Films) asks, "What's Harrison Ford's excuse? It has now been a full decade since [he] took on a role worth caring about. How sad to see the man who … was Han Solo, Jack Ryan, Richard Kimble, John Book, and Rick Deckard reduced to this." He calls the movie "as undistinguished and unmemorable as any film in recent memory."

J. Robert Parks (Phantom Tollbooth) also bemoans Ford's latest fumble. "How the mighty have fallen. Hollywood Homicide is a ridiculous film made even more ridiculous by its astonishing lack of focus. It's rarely funny, never romantic, hardly suspenseful, and too clumsy to be intriguing about anything."

Michael Medved (Crosswalk) says, "The waste of talent on this puerile project feels more criminal than the activity of even the movie's most nefarious characters."

Ted Baehr (Movieguide) says it "not only suffers from a pathetic, unbelievable plot, it also stretches the limits of PG-13 rating well into R-rated territory."

Again, Holly McClure (Crosswalk) liked it. "What makes the story work is the 'bad boy' chemistry the two have with each other." But she concludes, "There are better [movies] to spend your money on."

Bob Smithouser (Focus on the Family) writes, "No one east of San Bernardino will be able to identify with these mismatched, moonlighting partners. Beyond its artistic failings, Hollywood Homicide is loaded with offensive language, takes joy in violence, and asks families to cheer studs Ford and Hartnett as they 'score' more often than the Anaheim Angels."

These critics may be relieved to Hollywood Homicide is not impressing moviegoers much either. The film, which cost $75 million, opened in fifth place at the box office with $11.7 million, and the president of domestic distribution at Columbia Pictures says the results have left him disappointed.

Rugrats Go Wild

In Rugrats Go Wild, the popular Nickelodeon cartoon kids run into characters from another series—The Wild Thornberries—in an adventure that leaves them stranded on a jungle island where a dangerous clouded leopard is on the prowl.

But forget about the plot—this is the only film of the summer to boast "odorama" cards, a special bonus handed to viewers on the way into the theater that give them the chance to whiff various smells experienced by the characters over the course of the movie! Just match the number on the screen with one of the cards, and you will inhale things from the smell of wild strawberries to the smelly feet of the young adventurers. In hopes of getting the attention of grownups, the movie features Bruce Willis as the voice of Spike the Dog.

Movieguide's critic says, "Children, especially fans of the two series, will enjoy the antics on the island. There's a lot of fun things going on to keep them interested." The reviewer praises the "positive moral message," but cautions parents about "some crude bathroom humor and crude language."

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) says, "While sitting through this crudely drawn and absurdly exaggerated story, I found myself wistfully thinking back upon the brilliant animation and precise storytelling of last week's Finding Nemo."

But Jimmy Akin (Decent Films) calls it "a really fun summer film to watch with your kids."

Holly McClure (Crosswalk) says, "Overall this is a fun-filled family movie that little ones will enjoy because it stars familiar characters from TV that they've come to know and love. Parents, you'll enjoy a few laughs along with the kids and overall, the family will be able to enjoy the adventure."

David DiCerto (Catholic News Service) writes, "The film moves along at a good pace and packs enough of a satirical punch to allow parents to leave the No-Doz pills at home. And whereas fans of the highly successful TV shows will have fun watching their favorite little rascals on the big screen, older viewers along for the ride should get a kick out of the many cinematic references peppered throughout. In addition to imparting a strong message about the importance of families spending time together, the film also promotes a healthy respect for nature."