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Overall Rating

Awesome: 8.57%
Worth A Look: 8.57%
Average: 22.86%
Pretty Bad: 28.57%
Total Crap31.43%

3 reviews, 17 user ratings

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by Erik Childress

"From The Makers Of The Passion Of The Christ"
3 stars

From the makers of The Passion of the Christ comes...PAPARAZZI! God, do I wish that was in the trailer. It does identify itself as a Mel Gibson produced celebrity fantasy so one can imagine the South Park boys waiting by their computers to craft a sequel to their Passion of the Jew episode. Something inside me couldn’t shake off that trailer though. We’re we in for some special kind of great badness? No press screenings, a Fox release in the time of Swimfan and headlined by Cole Hauser and Tom Sizemore? WHAT? No matter, I couldn’t wait. Spending more time laughing at it (and more than a few times with it), I managed to get a rather addictively goofy movie that somehow escaped a fate on the USA Network.

Bo Laramie (Hauser) is the new action hero on the block with a film entitled...wait for it...ADRENALINE FORCE! Before the film can even blink that its actually an Andy Sedaris vehicle put out by New Concorde or something, the paparazzi at the red carpet are all over him. I don’t recommend carting in a busload of epileptics for the opening scene since you’re liable to feel the entire theater start shaking. Premieres are fair game. Cameras and the stars go hand-in-hand, one washing the other’s existence. But why-oh-why do you have to go to the kid’s soccer game?

Rex Harper (Sizemore) is the poster scum for this side of the “photo journalist” world. The script even manages to throw in a little interplay about first amendment rights. But like one of the sides of the Kobe Bryant case, someone just doesn’t understand the concept of “no means no.” Bo Duke Laramie clocks the Rexster and finds himself on the cover of Paparazzi magazine, arrested and enrolled in anger management classes. All thanks to Rex and his roving band of merrymen convicts turned photogs (which include the serial killer from Heat, an English dude and a Baldwin brother.)

They don’t stop there though, pulling a Princess Diana box-in on the Laramie family, putting their young son in a coma and wifey (Robin Tunney) minus a spleen. Nobody puts Bo Laramie in a corner and it doesn’t take long for him to begin an initially inadvertent, but elaborate series of revenge tactics on his assailants. Even with a sympathetic lone detective (Dennis Farina) just a mere half-step behind, whose methods consists of finding clues and showing them all to Bo.

Paparazzi has the pretense of being nothing more than a rich celebrity turning the tables on a general annoyance, although not quite up to the satirical smattering of a producer slaying the screenwriter in Altman's The Player. Killing them may not be the most suitable course of action for some. I tend to disagree. Anyone who has seen just one segment out of the E! Channel’s lascivious reality show following around these pestering cocksuckers all waiting in the shadow for a chance to catch someone eating lunch will agree that they need to be taken down a peg or two. If it happens to be with a baseball bat or “suicide by cop” then so be it. Call Paparazzi the I Spit On Your Grave of its day and let Joe Bob Briggs run with a commentary track on the DVD.

Is it a good movie though? No, not really. But it’s a brisk 90 minutes that’s going to qualify for one of the year’s guiltiest pleasures for a number of reasons. The out-of-nowhere cameos, some playing themselves, some playing pizzamen would normally be home in an Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell comedy. Mel Gibson clearly has some friends or just knows a lot of people so hateful of their privacy being invaded that they’d agree to do a walk-on. And I’m not even counting Tim Thomerson, credited last as the “uniformed officer.”

The most obvious reason to go though is for the glorious over-the-top awfulness of Tom Sizemore. As if doing this project as a loophole in his probation for smacking his women, Sizemore reacts to others as if their head just morphed into Heidi Fleiss. There’s actual growling going on here people as he tries to invent a new way to pop his skull out of his face. Andy Garcia doesn’t get this worked up on screen.

Director Paul Abascal, who cut his teeth as a hair stylist on vehicles for the Planet Hollywood trio and the Lethal Weapon series, keeps the ridiculousness moving and never gets anywhere near the moralizing. Gazillionaires or not, no one deserves to be treated the way they are by scumbags like these, so excuse me swallowing my moral compass for a second and applauding my way through the inevitable comuppances. It’s dumb. Maybe not Adrenaline Force 2 dumb, but dumb. There’s a better movie from this subject matter; perhaps a black comedy about actors turning the tables on their zoom lensed stalkers. But when the studios start dumping their leftovers in late August or early September, occasionally a piece of cold pizza ain’t so bad.

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originally posted: 09/03/04 17:46:00
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User Comments

9/06/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Looks and feels like a TV. movie 2 stars
3/20/07 action movie fan underappreciated thriller-builds suspense 4 stars
3/03/06 Tanya not that good but if you have nothing to do watch it 3 stars
12/12/05 Bad Critic That wassss... really stupid. 2 stars
6/17/05 Martin Kind of cool for the action and plot, but very corny. 2 stars
4/22/05 Sugarfoot If this had starred Wings Hauser this would've been a lot of fun, Cole is just a dull hero. 1 stars
11/11/04 Hilary Adamson Hard to follow at times but mostly exciting.Kept expecting Farina char. was in w/ paparazzi 4 stars
9/19/04 Anarchist_101 I expected high-paid celebs to go against them & not Hauser by himself! SHIT FLICK! 2 stars
9/10/04 ColdHeart Despicable "end justifies the means" plot. 1 stars
9/10/04 Munchie8 A guys movie, If your a guy & not gay... youl like this movie. powerful & shit blows up! 5 stars
9/08/04 Mix Master Mason Cole has gone from spanking kids in Dazed And Confused to hacking up PAPARAZZI what a job! 4 stars
9/07/04 Marcella I enjoyed every minute of this movie. It was 90 minutes of total excitement. 5 stars
9/06/04 Galadie STOOOOPID!!!!!! 1 stars
9/04/04 KingNeutron Nothing really new here, some good cameos but Hauser felt like a miscast. 3 stars
9/04/04 EWong I loved this movie, it was a bit dark, and Hauser makes an excellent anti-hero 5 stars
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  03-Sep-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 11-Jan-2005



Directed by
  Paul Abascal

Written by
  Forrest Smith

  Cole Hauser
  Larry Cedar
  Tom Sizemore
  Robin Tunney
  Dennis Farina

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