Movie News

Foywonder Calls PAPARAZZI The Best Bad Movie Of the Year!!

Published at: Sept. 7, 2004, 4:49 a.m. CST

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

I’ve long suspected that Mel Gibson has a bit of a martyr complex, and this year, he seems hellbent on proving it once and for all. Between the God-and-gorefest that is THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST and this thinly-disguised-“Oh-man-I-wish-I-could” revenge flick, he’s trotted out his personal pathology in a surprisingly public way. Leave it to Foywonder to give this film the in-depth analysis it so richly deserves...

***SPOILER WARNING***

If only PAPARAZZI featured a scene involving a dog with shifty eyes then I swear to God I'd be convinced this movie was actually one of the ideas Homer pitched to Mel Gibson in that episode of The Simpsons. For Mel Gibson to go from making THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST to producing this... All I can say is "Wow!"

Cole Hauser plays Bo Laramie and how often is it that the name of a fictional movie character sounds less like a fictional movie character name than that of the real life actor playing him, especially when that real life actor’s name is Cole Hauser? Bo Laramie is Hollywood’s newest action movie superhunk thanks to his breakthrough blockbuster ADRENALINE FORCE and its upcoming sequel ADRENALINE FORCE 2: THE FORCENING. Like most Hollywood celebrities that have just hit it big, Bo Laramie is a humble, down to earth, devoted family man, and loving husband that doesn't cheat on his wife, always has time for his kid's little league soccer game, never hangs out with Hollywood big shots, or goes club-hopping into the wee hours of the morning. I have a hard time buying into this notion if for no other reason than the guy’s name is Bo Laramie. That’s a name that just screams hard drinkin’ and all-night carousing. That’s a trucker’s name by God. That’s the name of the guy in the pool hall at 3 AM finishing off his third pack of cigarettes for the evening. Family man, my ass!

Unfortunately, fame comes with a high price, none higher than the loss of one's privacy. Out of the shadows of darkness steps the evil Rex Harper, the celebrity photographer from hell. Seriously. I'm not exaggerating. This guy is Satan's shutterbug. He is Lucifer with a zoom lens. There is no room for subtlety in this movie and Rex Harper is portrayed as a demonic entity that gets off on making the lives of the rich and famous a living nightmare by secretly taking photos of them when they least suspect it and then making up headlines to go along with it. Tom Sizemore plays Rex Harper as a sleazebag who looks and acts like someone who has been on a weeklong cocaine binge. Considering some of the recent headlines concerning Mr. Sizemore he may not have been acting. He may very well have just shown up the way he did and so they just skipped wardrobe and sent him straight to the set.

One day, “Mr. Decency” Bo Laramie is on his way to his son's little league soccer game when he's shown a tabloid magazine called “Paparazzi” that has a naked picture of him with a black bar over his genital region on the cover accompanied by a headline that reads "GET SHORTY". Needless to say he's now in a really bad mood, especially when it comes to celebrity photojournalists. Then at his kid's soccer game he spots the dark prince of tabloid journalism snapping pics of his son. An angry Bo gets in Harper's face and orders him to stop photographing his kid. Harper, the conniving scumbag that he is, begs off and promises to stop but as the game comes to an end Bo once again spots this pimple on the ass of humanity taking pictures of his son. So naturally Bo goes into full-on Alec Baldwin mode and decks him one real good. But it was all a trap! Oh no! Oh yes! The diabolical photog had intentionally provoked the rising star so that his gaggle of fellow life-destroying picture-snapping jackals could catch this celebrity’s shocking outburst on film.

Shortly thereafter, “World Famous Everyman” Bo Laramie finds himself sentenced to anger management classes and forced to pay that bastard Rex Harper a whopping half million dollars. But for Rex Harper it’s not just about the money. No, he wants a public apology. He wants to see the honest man he conned forced to genuflect before him in public by saying, “I’m sorry.” But Bo Laramie, much like the current President, isn’t the kind of man that apologizes in public for his mistakes. In fact, he sits down with the E! Network and makes it perfectly clear that this photographer he punched out got what he deserved and he damn sure isn’t sorry it. Big mistake. Bo should have said “I’m sorry” because now Rex Harper is going to make him sorry. "I'm going to destroy your life and eat your soul,” declares the diabolical Rex Harper in a manner usually followed by the twirling of a mustache. Now it’s war and the gossip nazi once again enlists his flashbulb poppin' Gestapo to help destroy the life and career of the good and righteous Bo Laramie all because he refused to say those two little magic words - "I'm sorry."

Going back to the E! Network interview scene for a moment, this Guiliana chick from E! really has no business ever appearing in a movie again. She seems to suffer from the Hulk Hogan acting gene and by that I mean she can’t even convincingly play herself on-screen. When you only have two lines of dialogue in a movie that require you to do nothing more than say the kind of stuff you normally would in your regular line of work and your line delivery is so stilted and awful that it manages to stand out like a sore thumb even in a cheesy b-movie like this then you really, really, really need to stick to your day job.

But getting back to the plot, things quickly devolve for Bo thanks to Harper’s harpies. You got a Beverly Hills Hell’s Angel on a Harley constantly snapping photos out of context so that they could be spun into something damning. You have an obnoxious Australian pipsqueak that likes to tap into people’s cellular phone calls. In a bit of stunt casting, a member of the Baldwin clan, Daniel Baldwin to be exact, looking like he’s been hiding out in a cabin deep in the woods for several months after eating his other brothers, plays another sleazy photographer that isn’t above using Photoshop to make his photos into being something even more sensationalistic. Together these four are the Audio/Video Club of Doom! I swear the Nazis in SCHINDLER’S LIST were played with more subtlety than these guys.

In their most vile act of all, they perform a sort of automotive gangbang down the typically deserted streets of Los Angeles chasing and surrounding Bo and his family while blasting away at them with blinding flashbulbs inadvertently causing a horrible traffic accident to which they react by taking pictures of them in the wreckage. Any similarities between this scene and the death of Princess Diana is purely intentional.

The driver of the other vehicle was killed but nobody gives a shit about him because he wasn’t famous or related to someone who was. It’s all about Bo and his family. Bo escapes unscathed but his wife has to have her spleen removed - the spleen being the go-to bodily organ that screenwriters have removed when they need to convey that a character has suffered a serious injury but don’t want to deal with the ramifications of losing an organ that could seriously impact the character’s long term health – and worst of all his only begotten son is in a coma. The police are unable to press charges because there were no witnesses and its his word against there’s.

But a fateful encounter with the bikerazzi changes everything. I don’t know about you but if I’ve just had an accident that leaves me hanging over the side of a mountain and the guy whose life I’ve been screwing with is willing to pull me to safety I don’t think I’d hang there taunting the man further about how I was going to use this to ruin his life even more so. Needless to say, Bo comes to realize that killing his enemies is a very effective way of making his problems disappear.

From there the film kind of plays out like that speech Sean Connery gave to Kevin Costner in THE UNTOUCHABLES. They put his family in the hospital and he lets one of them fall off a cliff. They fabricate false rumors in the tabloids about his wife being a drug addict and he sets one of them up to get gunned down by the L.A.P.D. They break into his house and plant hidden cameras and he brutally beats one of them to death with a Louisville Slugger. You know in retrospect Bo’s response may have been a tad extreme. Look at what he’s doing just for putting two members of his family in the hospital. Can you imagine what he would have done if either of them had been killed in the crash?

And if you haven't figured out halfway through this flick that Bo is going to frame Harper for the deaths and that the police will completely buy into this despite the logic behind it not making a lick of sense then you clearly haven't seen enough bad thrillers in your lifetime. It is amazing how a movie can be both totally predictable and yet still be so hopped up on goofballs that its giddily entertaining.

People always ask me why I waste time watching so many bad movies. I always tell them its because I'm looking for that most elusive of films - the "so bad it's good" movie. So far this summer I’ve come up empty. Sure, I've seen a movie that told me that man can outrun the temperature. I've seen a movie that presented the children of Dracula as looking like a hybrid of Shrek and Dingbat from the old 1960's Batman cartoon. I've seen a superhero movie with a plot based around face cream. I've seen a movie where black men were supposed to pass themselves off as white women but while wearing make-up that couldn't even enable them to pass themselves off as human beings. I've seen a movie about giant man-eating snakes that barely features any giant man-eating snakes in it. None delivered what I was looking for. But now I can say I’ve a movie where a major movie star orders a pizza that gets delivered by Chris Rock of all people just so he can covertly slip into the trunk of the deliveryman’s car in order to slip past the police watching his house so that he can get to the Mustang he keeps parked off the side of the road in the woods under a tarp, which he then drives to go beat a man to death. This is what I’m looking for, folks. This is why I sit through so many of these bad movies.

If I had any complaints about the movie, the first would be that there are way too many celebrity cameos in it. It gets annoying and distracting. Like I said, Chris Rock shows up as a pizza deliveryman for no particular reason other than to do a few really tired jokes about how the L.A.P.D. treat black people. Vince Vaughn turns up in one scene to do some shtick about penis enlargement. Matthew McConaughey briefly appears as himself just because. Heck, even Mel Gibson himself does a brief cameo as a psychiatrist’s patient. Okay, that one was actually amusing but for all the wrong reasons.

And poor Robin Tunney is given zero to do with her role in this movie other than to play either the doting wife or the upset wife depending on the scene. Still, I’m sure this beats appearing in SUPERNOVA or VERTICAL LIMIT.

Another problem is that Dennis Farina shows up way too many times as a police detective with such an keen sense of observation that he can deduce that someone was being set up just by noticing that a jacket in a video gets turned around the wrong way yet this same brilliant detective doesn't remember until the film's finale that those traffic cameras in L.A. that snap photos of people running red lights would have taken photographic evidence of the paparazzi causing Bo's traffic accident. But of course if he had remembered this back in the first act there wouldn't have been a movie because all the paparazzi would have gone directly to jail instead of being hunted down by the revenge-minded movie star. This guy is never going to make it on Law & Order if it takes him this long to figure out the simple things.

Farina knows that Bo is behind these deaths somehow and his body language when questioning him makes it so obvious that there’s no way Bo couldn’t possibly know that this detective isn’t onto him. But Bo reacts and responds in such a nonchalant manner that I couldn’t help but to begin to wonder if the guy wasn’t a bigger sociopath than the people he’s offing. It’s a little hard to root for Bo Laramie, especially at the end when he’s practically taunting Harper about what a great job he’s done setting him up and regrets the fact that he’ll never be able to brag about it in public. I can’t quite put my finger on it but as the movie progressed the Bo Laramie character started coming across to me as being more of a smug little punk in need of a comeuppance than a wronged man seeking vengeance. Maybe Harper was right after all? I don’t know. I just know that this factor only made things even more ludicrous.

And right on cue, the son comes out of his coma just in time for the end credits and they all live rich and famous and happily ever after. Praise Jesus!

PAPARAZZI marks the big screen debut of former hairstylist to the stars turned director Paul Abascal, whose previous directorial credits include episodes of the TV shows Silk Stalkings, Nash Bridges, Night Man, and America’s Most Wanted. This would probably explain why during every moment of the movie I felt like I was watching something that had been made for the USA Network or Superstation TBS. But the hair was damn good in this movie! As you can see it is good to be close friends with Mel Gibson, especially after he gets together with some celebrity buddies to trade stories about run-ins with overzealous paparazzi and deciding this could be the making of a great revenge thriller. PAPARAZZI marks a Hollywood first - a Hollywood revenge thriller whose target audience is Hollywood itself.

One last beef I had with the movie was the title PAPARAZZI. It just sounds too generic for a movie as cheesy and sensationalistic as this. It needed something flashier with a bit more hyperbole to it.

STALKERAZZI

ZOOM LENS TO HELL

FLASHBULBS OF TERROR

EXTREME SNAPSHOT

FATAL FLASHPOINT

NEGATIVE IMPACT

It just needed a title more along those lines.

PAPARAZZI may be more predictable than a Julia Roberts romantic comedy and dumber than an Ernest movie but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find it more entertaining than 95% of the movies that came out this past summer. Oh, if only this movie had been made about a decade or so ago and starred and younger, thinner Steven Seagal or Jean Claude Van Damme then it quite possibly could have been single greatest motion picture in the history of cinema. But instead it will have to settle for being the funniest movie of the year even if the laughs weren't intentional. If you can appreciate a movie like this then you are going to love Mel Gibson’s cinematic “Fuck you!” to the celebrity press.

The Foywonder

Thanks, man. Great read as always.

"Moriarty" out.





Readers Talkback

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  • Sept. 7, 2004, 4:55 a.m. CST

    First

    by Videodrome Gnome

    Man, I make this look easy. Good post by the way. Always enjoy them!

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 5:25 a.m. CST

    For a followupt Mel should produce a movie about his CRAZY ASS a

    by Rogue_Leader

    He could call it "PAPA-NAZI". He could finally make a movie for all the closet skinheads out there. Way to go Mel!

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 5:39 a.m. CST

    Great! Now I'm curious.

    by Fuckles

    Damn. That was one of the best reviews on this site that I've read in a while. Funny how that works out. I don't think I could fill a page about why I think "Spartan" is the best movie I've seen this year, but I could wax poetic about my hatred for "Aliens vs. Predator" into the size of a short novel. Some movies, for better or for worse, just bring that out in a person. Thanks a lot, Foywonder, you little bastard. Now I'll be seeing this shameless piece of crap just because I have this attraction to any kind of cinema (good or bad) that makes no apologies whatsoever for itself. However, I doubt this film will find it's was into Godard/Wong Kar Wai-like cinematic bliss. Eh. Gotta' take the good with the bad, I guess.

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 6:19 a.m. CST

    I would have gone for DEADLY FOCUS myself

    by ChickenGeorgeVII

    damn you Foy! you beat me to the dark side of cinema again!!! i'll have to review Superbabies if I can still find it in a theater! (and then watch Harry and Co. pass on it again....)...And thus, we need From Justin to Kelly 2! - - - George, The 7th Chicken!!!!

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 6:25 a.m. CST

    Because I only read up until the last paragraph of this "Pitch"

    by TheGinger Twit

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 6:34 a.m. CST

    Ah, it just wouldn't be an AICN talkback without a needlessly ho

    by TheFoywonder

    You're slipping, dude. You completely forgot to include your usual insult directed at the United States.

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 6:36 a.m. CST

    Sorry dude, it was a bit harsh - but was said with a smile. As f

    by TheGinger Twit

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 6:44 a.m. CST

    No prob, Ginger Twit. It beats the usual "You expect me to read

    by TheFoywonder

    Seriously though, no matter how much one reveals in detail about what happens in this movie it can't possibly spoil a movie like this. I can't recall the last time I saw a movie where the audience was giggling like school girls at scenes clearly not intended to generate laughs. They need to do a sequel where Bo Laramie goes on a killing spree again going after all the critics that give his movies bad reviews.

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 7:50 a.m. CST

    Good for Mel

    by vikingkitty

    For his next project, he should go after a group that really has it coming - newscasters. Dan Rather had better watch his step!

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 8 a.m. CST

    Sounds like a Hollywood wet dream.

    by I Dunno

    Every actor always bitches about the paparrazzi. This story must be what they all whack off to every night. Problem is, the rest of us can't relate and don't care.

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 8:09 a.m. CST

    Good work Foywonder...

    by tango fett

    One of the best reviews I've read here since...last week. Even though you say it sucks, you make me want to see the movie. Can't wait. I'm seriously surprised Harry or McWeeny would post this over another review of Van Helsing in FRENCH. Anyone remember?

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 9:34 a.m. CST

    Or...

    by GingerTwit

    He could take hi quality pictures of himself and his family and send them to alternate tabloids - in which case the paparazi now come after him and take his family down one by one. "Stop taking such damn good pictures!" Did anyone see that pic of Arnold Swarchhamandeggburger. Geez, the man aint got no muscles anymore. Americans suck!

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 1:52 p.m. CST

    For this movie to work, it needs to feature A LOT of female nudi

    by Eugene O

    Hey, I didn't make up the formula! Don't shoot the messenger!

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 2:29 p.m. CST

    YOU TOOK MY WIFE'S SPLEEN

    by wadew

    And poor ZACK LARAMIE. Little guy was in a coma, but he did happen to have a superhuman healing factor. If you notice, he has cuts and shit all over his face when he first gets into the hospital. Then the next time we see Zack all the cuts ARE GONE. The kid was a soccer playing mutie. I also liked how action star BO LARAMIE dramatically removed the tarp from the mustang he hid in the woods. God this movie sucked. And Why the hell did aussie Paparazzi decide to jump out of his car, reach into his jacket, and pull out a prop gun BO LARAMIE planted in it when he was surround by 15 cop cars?

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 2:42 p.m. CST

    good review

    by Jack the Lad

    This pretty much hits the nail on the head. I saw the spots for this and thought it would be mindless garbage but entertaining in a so bad it's good way. I was not disappointed. I thought the same thing for SUSPECT ZERO, but that one just sucked. PAPARAZZI would be a little frightening if it weren't so preposterous - it heartily endorses the revenge and murder spree of the main character. The audience I saw it with giggled a little bit in parts, but they were cheering during the killings. Then again, I saw this in Burbank, CA, where 3000 MILES TO GRACELAND practically got a standing ovation. Not exactly what Jesus would do. I have to wonder why Gibson released this right on the heels of the PASSION OF CHRIST DVD. He is either much dumber or considerably smarter - and more fucked-up - than I thought.

  • Hilarious.

  • Oh really? I'm sure when the stars were just starting out and they took B-movie roles they did it for an Oscar

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 3:58 p.m. CST

    About Mel Gibson

    by Ribbons

    I can see how people would have a problem with him and I can understand how the controversy surrounding his last pair of movies can be fairly divisive, but people: do you think you're being *smart* when you make smarmy references to his father? Oh, yes; that stupid religiac Mel Gibson. It's a shame he couldn't be as learn-ed as insightful folk such as yourselves. While a father can help explain who a person is, to some degree, or even who he's not, he's certainly not a character flaw, and it means absolutely nothing in the context of 'Paparazzi,' nor 'Passion of the Christ,' for that matter, unless you're grinding a particular axe against that movie. I will have to say, though, that this movie is woefully misguided. Who truly wants to see a revenge flick about paparazzi? And Foywonder's comment about Bo coming across as a sociopath is dead-on.

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Although I have to admit...

    by Ribbons

    That "Papa-Nazi" joke was pretty clever. Incidentally, it's a shame that this is Cole Hauser's first starring role; although he's probably not right for the part to begin with, "smoldering charisma" aside, he deserves better, or at least, he deserves work in a better movie, if not necessarily the lead.

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Look for Cole Hauser to have a break out role

    by tequilaworm

    This dude is gonna blow up; I've got a gut feeling about it. Just wait and see...CHEERS Amigos!

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 5:11 p.m. CST

    Cole Hauser/Gibson surrogate

    by gbc204

    Think Cole Hauser's casting as Mel's surrogate had anything to do with the fact that he's played an anti-semite/skinhead THREE times?

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 7:06 p.m. CST

    PresidentEvil AND Foywonder, that happened in two movies

    by HardcoreRocker

    In The Day After Tomorrow, Jake Gyllenhaal outran the extreme cold. In The Chronicles of Riddick, Vin Diesel outran the extreme heat.

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 7:24 p.m. CST

    papparazzi

    by liljuniorbrown

    Those guys are the lowest fucking life form on the planet.Have you ever watched Celebritys Uncensored? I watched it the other night and i swear after hearing that cocksucker talk about taking somebodys picture i expected to see him jerking off in his car.Now granted, this movie is probably horrible, Mel ain't getting my ten bucks,but if anybody deserves to get the shit beat out of them on a regular basis it's those stalker bastards.Imagine that kid on the playground or where ever you hung out as a kid.......the kid that wouldn't leave anybody alone no matter what you said to them,the kid that would just keep tormenting you until you punched his ass out.they grow up to be papparazzi.Read the article in last months Playboy that this Papparazzi guy wrote about what he dose for a living and tell me if it dosn't give you the creeps.

  • Sept. 7, 2004, 10:44 p.m. CST

    Scenes from Fatal Flashpoint; Bo Laramie: "Bo Laramie's wife los

    by Big Bad Clone

    When will we get the Passion of the Paparazzi?

  • Sept. 8, 2004, 2:17 a.m. CST

    Johns

    by Moe Ron

    Ive said it before and I'll keep saying it, Cole Hauser IS FLASH GORDON DAMMIT!!!!! He needs to be cast right away. Incidentally, his daddy was always a delight to watch, especially in a sweet little gem called Vice Squad, in which he was a pimp who cut Fred Rerun Berry's nuts off, and abused his prostitutes with coat hangers among other things.

  • Sept. 8, 2004, 4:10 a.m. CST

    can we just stop talking about Mel Gibson already?

    by wanton_wallie

    Pleassse???

  • Sept. 8, 2004, 4:11 a.m. CST

    can we just stop talking about Mel Gibson already?

    by wanton_wallie

    Pleassse???

  • Sept. 8, 2004, 4:13 a.m. CST

    AWESOME!!!!

    by mara_rhodesia

    my freind saw it and he did like it. Maybe it is indeed true to its title!.

  • Sept. 8, 2004, 4:15 a.m. CST

    cinematic fuck you

    by dentity2000

    Thehe. That was funny

  • Sept. 8, 2004, 8:49 a.m. CST

    The only reference to Gibson's dad was the "papa-nazi" joke.

    by minderbinder

    And give him credit...that one was just too good to pass up. Great review as always, Foy.

  • Sept. 8, 2004, 11:08 a.m. CST

    Give me back my five dollars!

    by Christopher3

    Kerplach!

  • Sept. 8, 2004, 1:26 p.m. CST

    There's only one way to sum up this masterpiece..

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    ... and that's Wiggita-wiggita wack. Cole Hauser couldn't be more Bo Laramie if his name was Lance Uppercut. Whilst I would never actually spend money on seeing this (as I have this thing about feeling/acting stupid) I will endeavor to view it after such a positive review. I also will use the word 'whilst' in my post commenting on the piece. Twice.

  • Sept. 8, 2004, 2:59 p.m. CST

    cole

    by bjtew

    Now if we can just get that "chronicles of that bounty hunter that captured riddick but lost him" movie made we'd be set.

  • Sept. 8, 2004, 10:52 p.m. CST

    My God...

    by manwiththedogs

    ..I MUST see this movie.