A Film Review By Jason L. King
|Rating:Rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences, sexual content and language
Starring:Cole Hauser, Daniel Baldwin, Tom Sizemore
Directed By:Paul Ascabal
America loves its celebrities. Helping some of Hollywood’s finest celebrate their 15 minutes of fame is one of the favorite pastimes of Americans all over. Entire TV stations are created to honor these celebrities. Stations Like E! And Bravo highlight celebrity news all the time. Even local stations pick up celebrity news shows like Extra! And Entertainment Tonight. Newsstands are filled with magazines about our rich and famous beauties, with tiles like People and US Weekly. But as much we love of actors and actresses, we also love to watch their faults as well as their achievements. Tabloid papers such as the National Enquirer and Star exist, selling millions of copies each and every year. Each of these magazines promise to have all the dirt on the latest Hollywood sex scandal, the latest drugged out star in rehab and of course that Quasimoto’s (or Nostradamus… whoever it is) prediction that the world will end by the end of this calendar year.
There is no doubt that we love our gossip here in America, but where does that dirt come from? It comes from the work of Paparazzi. Journalists who devote their lives to following celebrities and documenting their life styles. A Journalist who will do anything to get the photo that is better than all their competitors. In the film Paparazzi we get to see just how low a photographer will go to get a shot.
Paparazzi tells the story of Bo Laramie, a young action star with a bright future ahead of him. But what he didn’t realize is that his 15 minutes of fame means that life as he knows it is over. Paparazzi photographers want Bo’s name in the headlines and will do anything including breaking and entering to get a photo. But when the paparazzi cause Bo and his family to end up in a car crash, Bo takes matters into his own hands and decides to fight back against the team of photojournalists that endangered his family’s life.
Paparazzi is the perfect example of a “B” movie that does everything right. The budget is low and the actors are near nobodies. One of the few glimpses of Hollywood A-List actors you get to see is a 3 second shot of Mel Gibson in passing (Gibson produced the film) and a 10 second shot of Vince Vaughn. Instead the film relies on Cole Hauser, a near new comer to the spotlight. It also stars Tom Sizemore and one of the trillion lesser known Baldwin brothers, but no one sane considers Sizemore or a Baldwin that isn’t named Alec a true Hollywood star. Where Paparazzi does succeed is in the story. The story keeps you interested from start to finish and keeps you in suspense. You know the film is mediocre, but you don’t want to leave the theater because you keep wondering how low the paparazzi will go, and how Bo will outsmart them. It’s a Hollywood revenge tale that is so simplistic yet keeps you entertained.
The problem with Paparazzi is that it is so cheesy. The idea is great but they obviously did not have the budget. Hauser and Sizemore do a great job but their supporting cast is close to awful. Robin Tunney plays Hauser’s wife in one of the most unconvincing roles I have seen since Thandie Newton’s existence in Chronicles of Riddick. Tunney delivered her lines with such lack of feeling that it felt as though she was reading them off of cue cards in front of her for the first time. The Bo Laramie character strangely resembles Mel Gibson (the film’s producer) and Gibson’s fans won’t be able to miss how closely the poster’s to Laramie’s “Adrenaline Force” action series resembles the posters to Gibson’s Lethal Weapon series. On top of that the story takes a weird twist and finds a nice way of writing off Laramie’s son after a car crash. His son finds himself in a near death coma, that he magically snaps out of once the film is over and all is well again. It is so cheesy it makes you almost laugh. It was as though the director just said “I don’t know what to do with the kid, let’s put him in a coma until the end so I don’t have to think about it.”
The film also beats you over the head with the pains and agonies of being a celebrity and makes sure the audience knows that the paparazzi are the scum of the earth in Hollywood. They make the paparazzi so evil in this film you would think each night they develop their photos in Satan’s photo lab and have sold their souls and their hearts long ago to Satan himself. While I am sure the paparazzi are not loved, are they that evil? The director makes sure scenes that replicate the princess Di car chase makes it into the film in hopes to stir up even more anger towards the evil paparazzi scum.
In the end the director did a great job with an overall mediocre film. For a director who has done nothing but TV specials and Mel Gibson Documentaries (anyone still confused why Gibson produced this movie?) Director Paul Abascal does a decent job with his first major film. However it is low budget, mindless fluff that is above average at best. If you want a pointless popcorn fluff flick that entertains you for an hour and half but doesn’t really have any long lasting effects, check out Paparazzi. But checking it out a “B-movie” at theater ticket prices seems kind of funny to me. Save your buck for now, but don’t be afraid to check it out on video.