Picks and Pans Review: Hollywood Homicide

UPDATED 06/23/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/23/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett, Lena Olin, Bruce Greenwood

If this barely-a-notch-above-routine cop movie about a mismatched pair of police detectives investigating the murder of a rap group starred, say, Sylvester Stallone and Freddie Prinze Jr., the few moviegoers who showed up would probably walk out or at least take a snooze halfway through. But it boasts Ford and Hartnett, each one of moviedom's major hotties for their age group, so attention must be paid. Thankfully, these two manage to give the film a gloss, plus a hefty dose of raffish charm.

Hollywood Homicide teams Joe Gavilan (Ford), a veteran Los Angeles police detective with three ex-wives and two kids whom we never see, alongside the younger, less savvy K.C. Calden (Hartnett). When four members of a popular rap group are fatally shot in a nightclub, the duo is assigned the case. The movie's main joke is that these two spend as much time pursuing their second careers—Gavilan hawks real estate while Calden teaches yoga and studies acting—as they do chasing down perps.

The key problem is that Homicide can't decide whether it's a comedy or a drama, wavering with fitful unease between the two. Director and cowriter Ron Shelton (Dark Blue) keeps piling on subplots, characters and chases, possibly hoping that if enough is going on, you won't notice that there's nothing really happening. Ford (see page 88) proves game throughout and is particularly appealing in his playful romantic scenes with Olin (she's a clairvoyant), telling her, "If I take my ginkgo, I can still remember where I put my Viagra." The moist-eyed Hartnett delivers in his few solo scenes, but he and Ford never develop an onscreen rapport to rival that of classic odd couple pairings like Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in 1982's 48 HRS. If Homicide lingers in anyone's memory past 48 hours, it'll be a miracle. (PG-13)

BOTTOM LINE: No hooray for this Hollywood

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