Paparazzi (2004)
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Review Date: September 03, 2004
Director: Paul Abascal
Writer: Forrest Smith
Producers: Mel Gibson, Bruce Davey, Stephen McEveety
Cole Hauser as Bo Laramie
Robin Tunney as Abby Laramie
Tom Sizemore as Rex Harper
There's a new action movie star in town and the paparazzi all want to take pictures of him and his family. One day, the photogs get so enthusiastic about their picture prey, that they cause him to have an accident with his wife and child. The celeb-now really pissed-decides to take it upon himself to get even with his camera-friendly enemies. And does he ever. A pissed-off celebrity...ensues!
One of the reasons that I thought my two cents might be appreciated in the world of "film criticism" when I started writing reviews back in 1998, was because I never thought enough "real critics" were praising the sorts of movies that a lot of "regular people", like myself, enjoyed watching. It seemed like they would rather spend their time talking about the psychological impact of a film, its cinematography or its frivolity of plot, as opposed to its value as a vehicle for entertainment (as many films are). I remember really loving ARMAGEDDON. I also remember the film making hundreds of millions of dollars (i.e. millions of other people enjoying it as well). I also remember tons of critics calling it a piece of shit. You know what, man...it's a "popcorn movie" and if you go in, wanting to enjoy a 90-minute ride filled with brainless entertainment, you might just have a good time, and sometimes...that's exactly what a movie is for. Reviewing a film based on what it is, seems to me as important as knowing what you're talking about. PAPARAZZI is exactly that type of movie. It's got a very basic set-up that provides you with two sides of the coin. A celebrity whose life is being invaded by photographers, and those dreaded, immoral paparazzo. It's not the most original storyline in the world, but it's a great premise set in the world of Hollywood. It's not meant to be taken seriously, folks. For what it is, which is a typical "revenge" thriller, it does the job and then some.

The set-up works, the lead character, played extremely effectively by the great Cole Hauser (looking an awful lot like a young Sean Penn...nice!), is perfect as the nice-guy patsy who will eventually "break", and his ultimate meltdown, along with the kills, are fun and entertaining enough to watch. Granted, it's only been two hours since I watched the movie and I can barely remember anything from it, but that's fine...the film worked while I was there, I forgot about my problems for a buck and a half, dove into the angst provided to me by the lead celeb's own problems and I vicariously enjoyed the heck out of the ways he went about avenging what had been done wrong to him. One thing to note in the movie is the embarrassingly over-the-top performance by Tom Sizemore, whose character you can't help but correlate to the actor's own problems in real life. Dude, you used to be so good! Methinks the director should have asked him to "reign it in" a little...that was just nutty! The film's also peppered with 4 major A-list actor cameos, which despite being completely unnecessary to the plotline, were fun to have included. There's also a cute "Baldwin" joke that's ironic, seeing as an actual Baldwin (the fat one) is also in the picture. If you're looking for deep characterization, you ain't going to find it here, with horrible lines like "We are the last of the hunters" and "I will destroy his family...I will eat his soul", not necessarily bringing out thoughts of David Mamet. But if you want to watch a movie that works on the most primal level, run alongside a great lead actor who deserves to get much greater roles in bigger movies and satisfy some of your most basic urges in the arena of popcorn cinema, check this puppy out. PS: I'm naming my first-born Bo Laramie.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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