A review of “Hollywood Homicide” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: *

Rating: PG-13 for language, violence, sexuality

Run Time: 1 hour, 41 minutes

 

 

Harrison Ford plays against type in this Lethal Weapon-esque comedy/drama featuring heartthrob Josh Hartnett, with disastrous results.

Where to begin? “Homicide” utilizes every cliché in the buddy-cop book to establish an edgy humor between Detectives Joe Gavilan (Ford) and K.C. Calden (Hartnett). Joe is the gruff veteran; a survivor of three failed marriages, the object of a suspicious Internal Affairs investigation, and seeking his fortune by moonlighting as a real-estate broker.  K.C. is the yin to Joe’s yang; the gorgeous, sensitive boy-in-blue who eats tofu and sprouts, teaches yoga on the side, and yearns to be an actor.

The mix of personas is established as the film’s comic relief, but manages merely to portray the pair as wildly out of sync.  Hot on the heels of dirty record mogul Sartain (Isaiah Washington), who may have been involved in an after-hours club shootout, Joe and K.C. investigate their multiple homicide surrounded by the uncomfortable aura of a blind date. 

Life (and a bad screenplay) intrudes in the form of Joe’s realty woes (he’s trying to unload a stinker in L.A.’s tony Mt. Olympus) and his clandestine affair with the ex-girlfriend of the Chief of Internal Affairs, while K.C. muddies the narrative waters with a string of lusting yoga groupies and his relentless (and futile) pursuit of stardom.

“Homicide” aims for, and misses, the majority of potentially humorous opportunities.  Worst of show is K.C. commandeering an innocent bystander’s SUV for a criminal chase, only to find the man’s wife and two kids still strapped into the vehicle.  Mom and her youngsters hysterically plead for their lives while K.C. tears through the L.A. streets at top speed spouting karmic wisdom – pointedly distressing and in very poor taste.

Can’t a couple of hunky guys pull off the buddy dynamic with the sheer force of their masculine star power?  Surprisingly, the chemistry between Ford and Hartnett is flatlined – not a spark in sight.  Reports of personality clashes on the set appear to be valid, given the leads’ obvious lack of interest in one another or the project.  Director Ron Shelton (whose edgy and accomplished “Dark Blue” is one of this year’s best) helms with a heavy-handed pace, unable to establish momentum with his cumbersome plot and indifferent players.  Too bad, so sad.