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Hollywood Homicide - Preview and US reaction



Story by: Jack Foley

HAVING come over all serious for last year's submarine drama, K-19: The Widowmaker, film legend, Harrison Ford, now turns lighter for his latest, Hollywood Homicide - a mismatched cop comedy/thriller from Dark Blue director, Ron Shelton.

The audience hook, this time, however is the chance to see the former Star Wars/Indiana Jones star alongside a current heart-throb, Josh Hartnett, in a film which, once more, epitomises the brain-light Summer pitch.

The film focuses on two Los Angeles Police Department homicide detectives - one a grizzled veteran (Ford), the other a young yoga instructor and aspiring actor (Hartnett) - who are called in to investigate the onstage murder of a rap group, possibly organised by the boss of a top rap label.

The movie began to interest Shelton after he tackled the corrupt cop genre in the aforementioned Dark Blue, when the topic of cops who moonlight at other jobs was brought to his attention by consultant and former LAPD cop Robert Souza (who also cowrote this film).

Hence, while Hartnett's outside interest centres around yoga and acting, Ford's veteran is also a down-on-his-luck real estate agent trying desperately to unload a house in the hills.

And it was this aspect of the story which particularly appealed to Ford who, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, stated that: ''I signed up on the basis of the idea - which is something I never do - [but] the mix of police work and real estate was a great comic opportunity.''

Hollywood Homicide marks Ford's fifth onscreen outing as a cop, although the first in which he becomes saddled with a partner.

And, according to EW once again, the shoot had its problems, with Hartnett's enthusiasm for the stunts occasionally proving painful to both of them.

Ford recalls one car chase, in particular....

''It was planned that we were going to be cut off by a police car,'' recalls Ford, who was a passenger. ''He just got excited and [drove] right through his mark and hit the police car. He got whiplash, and I got a pulled groin muscle.''

The movie opens in the UK on September 5.

 

US reaction

Unfortunately for Ford, his latest outing received more of a critical mauling than a thumbs-up.

The Boston Globe led the way, describing Hollywood Homicide as 'one of the most lazily scripted, poorly structured, smugly stereotyped star vehicles in recent memory'.

The New York Daily News, meanwhile, wrote that 'it's a humiliating comedown for Ford, and he looks creaky and grumpy, obviously aware that he is miscast and dreading every scene'.

USA Today was only marginally less scathing, stating that 'both leads in Hollywood Homicide work multiple jobs, and wear themselves out in the process. So does a movie with such a generic title that it's a marvel no one has used it before'.

The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, concluded that 'no one comes out of Hollywood Homicide looking good, but the film fades fast', while E! Online awarded it a lowly D and dismissed it as 'an imbecilic drama that's totally shooting blanks'.

Worse still was the Washington Post, which wrote that 'Hollywood Homicide is about murder, all right: the wholesale slaughter of anything funny, original or even vaguely logical'; while the New York Post opined that 'there's little action in this snail-paced bore, you'll need a high-powered magnifying glass to spot the comedy and the 'buddies' have about as much chemistry as a pair of wet socks'.

Even the Hollywood Reporter found little to like, stating that it is 'a forced, ungainly vehicle that stalls each time it threatens to actually start'.

The word wasn't all bad, however, and Entertainment Weekly awarded it a B-, noting that 'Ron Shelton, working from a script that he wrote with Robert Souza, has a trick up his sleeve; it's his cheery skewed tone'.

Likewise, the Chicago Sun-Times, which felt that 'one of the pleasures of Hollywood Homicide is that it's more interested in its two goofy cops than in the murder plot; their dialogue redeems otherwise standard scenes'.

The Boston Phoenix stated that it 'features Harrison Ford in his funniest performance ever', as did the New York Times, which also referred to it as 'Ford's loosest, wittiest performance in years'.

And the San Francisco Chronicle, which felt that 'it's a movie an audience can settle comfortably into, and it pays off as it goes along'.

But the final word goes to Newsday, which concluded that 'Harrison Ford as comedian is not a pretty picture'.

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