Hollywood Homicide is being marketed as a Harrison Ford film, and it’s directed by Ron Shelton, the sports movie auteur (Bull Durham, Tin Cup, etc.), who has recently turned to police films (this year’s earlier Dark Blue was his, too).
But the operative word in this new film’s title is ‘Hollywood"—not only is it another old cop-young cop buddy flick, but it’s also a spoofy L.A. satire of a particularly self-satisfied sort.
The ostensible plot has the old cop (Ford) and his young partner (Josh Hartnett) investigating a triple homicide at a hip-hop club. That cues assorted digressions on Motown, rap and the music business. But Hollywood Homicide is also heavily into sidelines and moonlighting—Ford’s Joe Gavilan dabbles in upscale real estate, Hartnett’s K. C. Calden meditates and teaches yoga, and the script (by Shelton and ex-cop Robert Souza) goofs on the L.A. media, including glamour girl reporters in helicopters and a radio psychic (Lena Olin) who also has the hots for Gavilan.
The result is consistently mild entertainment of a faintly rancid sort. It’s an insular kind of thing that probably plays better in Southern California than anywhere else. The glut of cameos (Robert Wagner, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Eric Idle, Lou Diamond Phillips, etc.) only serves to underline the inbred, softball nature of the Hollywood spoofing. By the time of the climactic, reprehensibly ‘funny” car chase, the whole thing is beginning to seem toxically smug.
Among the actors, Hartnett’s charmingly awkward soulfulness fares best. Ford seems clumsy—and perhaps running on empty. Olin’s jaunty hauteur carries no conviction here, and it’s a mystery why she and Lolita Davidovitch—as a power-broking Hollywood hooker—didn’t exchange roles.