A lot of talented people tried very hard to make this movie work, but it just doesn’t make it. It has an appealing premise: with odd-couple detectives assigned to investigate the murder of a rap group. And it has a first-class cast, with Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett as the cops, Bruce Greenwood and Isaiah Washington as the bad guys, and guest appearances by music stars from Gladys Knight and Smokey Robinson to Dwight Yoakam and rappers Vyshonne Miller, Kurupt, and Master P. There is some sharp dialogue and some sly satire about tinseltown and a couple of gags work well. But mostly, it is a mess.
Ford plays Joe Gavilan, a seen-it-all cop with three ex-wives and a sideline in real estate. His financial position is so precarious that he will stop in the middle of an interrogation to pitch a deal. Hartnett is K.C., the partner who literally can’t shoot straight. Another thing he can’t keep straight is the names of the girls in the yoga class he teaches, who are constantly either sighing over him or making passes at him. But what K.C. really wants to do is act. When a rap group is gunned down at a nightclub, Joe and K.C. have to find the killers despite constant distractions from their other careers and from a pending internal affairs investigation by Macko (Bruce Greenwood), a cop who is very eager to pin something on Joe.
Ford’s loose, ego-free, and witty performance is almost worth the price of admission. He can even give a snap to a line like, “If I take my gingko I can remember where I left my Viagra.” There are some shrewd takes on the city where everyone, even suspects and witnesses, has headshots or a script proposal on hand at all times.
But this is a would-be action comedy and most of the action is muddled and most of the comedy is tired. Come to think of it, the action is tired and the comedy is muddled, too. It is impossible to believe that these tough cops could be befuddled by a cell phone ringing througout an interrogation. There is an interminable chase scene near the end that uselessly piles vehicle on vehicle, most unfortunately (and un-funnily) leaving Ford teetering on a girl’s bicycle and Harnett driving a weeping mother and children.
The murders are not interesting and the bad guys are not compelling. And there are way too many coincidences. Even though the story is supposed to take place in Los Angeles, quite a large city by any measure, everyone keeps running into everyone else and it turns out that the same characters are all connected to every major event in each other’s lives.
Parents should know that the movie has some strong language and some sexual references and situations. K.C. has casual sex with several women, and Joe and a lady friend have a very sensual encounter. Characters drink; Joe drinks too much. There is a lot of action violence, some graphic, including a grisly autopsy scene in the morgue.
Families who see this movie should talk about why so many people in this movie want to change their careers.
Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy “Beverly Hills Cop” and “48 Hours.” They might enjoy the “Lethal Weapon” series as well.