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When not solving murders in Tinseltown, Detective Joe Gavilan and his rookie partner Kasey Calden both moonlight in other fields: Gavilan sells real estate (poorly), and Calden aspires to become an actor (Brando, namely). Assigned to the vicious in-club slaying of a promising young rap act, the two detective delve into the recording industry where they hope to find answers - ideally ones that also come with property buyers or auditions. Written by
Joe Gavilan's frequently heard cell phone ring is the opening riff of "My Girl", while K.C. Calden's phone plays "Funkytown". See more »
During the car chase, just before they switch drivers, the position of Gavilan's hands hanging on to the door changes several times between shots. See more »
Shooting Practice Announcer:
Shooters step up to the 20 yard line.
[K.C. has trouble shooting his target during shooting practice, so Joe shoots his and K.C.'s at the same time]
See more »
Smokey Robinson plays the Taxi Cab driver of the Cab that Harrison Ford's Character commandeers towards the final chase scenes. See more »
Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford) is a seasoned detective. K.C. Calden (Josh Hartnett) is his still wet behind the ears partner. Hollywood Homicide has them trying to balance the investigation of murders involving members of LA's rap industry with unusual extracurricular activities and concerns.
The most obvious aspects that make the film work so well are the extracurriculars. Without them, this might be seen as just another buddy-cop action/crime/drama--a good one at that, but nothing spectacular. But Hollywood Homicide is a comedy at heart. Gavilan's first concern upon arriving at any crime scene is that he gets some food, just the way he likes it. He's also a real estate agent. While conducting investigations, calls from buyers and sellers of homes always take precedence. Calden is also an aspiring actor, and he's quite a ladies' man. He even makes extra income by running a yoga class--with only women students--at $20 a head. Most of the students want to sleep with him, as do most other women he meets. They get away with it because Gavilan, at least, is also a great detective.
All of this material is very funny, but never in an over-the-top way. In fact, a lot of viewers might have difficulty "getting" the humor in the film, as much of it arrives by way of the action/crime/drama material that is only slightly exaggerated. That's a genre that often borders on the absurd even when it's played seriously. So the tendency may be for people to take this film seriously at times, and miss the gist of the humor.
The real joke, of course, is that this is Hollywood--a fact made all too clear by director Ron Shelton's title montage of "Hollywood" on various signs. In Hollywood, as in LA in general, it seems that everyone has something else that they'd rather be doing than their actual job, so they're all really focusing on that instead, while the day job pays the bills. Everyone is trying to make connections, and they're willing to do all kinds of unusual things to make them. Everyone is constantly on their cell phones. Run-ins with people who have various connections to the entertainment industry are commonplace, and it's not unusual to casually compliment them on their talent or some facet of their career before you, say, run after their offspring with a gun. Criminal activity and other unpleasant facts of daily existence are mostly taken in stride because no one can let such things get in the way of achieving success in what they really want to do.
That Shelton was able to make a film about "the real joke", and still keep a capable "serious" action/crime/drama running in the background is the real secret to the film's success. Without looking the broader themes, one might wonder why Harrison Ford would pick a seemingly pedestrian script at this stage of his career. From a deeper perspective, this is a very funny film with a more serious, almost self-deprecating subtext (for Hollywood, or the entertainment industry in general), and with an even more generalized "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" theme. Hollywood Homicide is well worth a watch or reassessment with this in mind.
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