Starring: Cole Hauser, Dennis Farina, Tom Sizemore, Daniel Baldwin
Director: Paul Abascal
It’s the end of the summer season and studio execs have one more weekend slot to fill before early Oscar films begin rolling into theaters. Mel Gibson’s name is back in the news with the release of his tremendously successful “Passion of the Christ,” so it only seems logical to release “Paparazzi,” a dense thriller produced by Gibson and directed by his hairdresser, Paul Abascal, that offers no suspense and little action.
Realizing the dream of every famous actor, Cole Hauser stars as Bo Laramie, a hot new action hero who’s forced to go into Charles Bronson-mode when his life is threatened by a group of sleazy paparazzi looking to exploit the star’s newfound fame. After a nighttime car chase with some overzealous photographers results in a near-fatal accident, Bo brushes off his mountain-worn jeans and begins to track down the men who put his wife and son in the hospital, led by a bold and nutty Tom Sizemore.
Written by first-time scribe and ex-NFL player Forrest Smith and directed, once again, by the very man who beautifies Mr. Gibson before the camera rolls, “Paparazzi” is an inside joke before it begins. The film boasts an excellent idea that should spark some interest among audiences -- with the recent series of celebrity grievances against freelance photographers and shows like “Celebrities Uncensored” teeming late night cable channels -- but “Paparazzi” doesn’t have enough narrative meat to carry it through its lackluster 90-minute runtime.
While the characters name drop celebrities like George Clooney and Julia Roberts, and the film features other stars like Gibson, Chris Rock and Vince Vaughn in cameo roles, the script shows no proof of any real knowledge of the film world. The only thing the film does do right is create the illustrious red carpet atmosphere from an insider’s point of view. Sluggishly paced and ineptly scripted, “Paparazzi” is just another low-grade thriller looking to make a few bucks by slapping the name of a big Hollywood star on the finished product.