Bo Laramie (Cole Hauser) makes his instant leap to Hollywood stardom with his debut in an action film, and while the flashing lights of the paparazzi at first dazzle him with the glare of publicity, he soon finds some of the photographers getting inside his life and making it look all wrong. When Rex Harper (Tom Sizemore) insists on photographing his family at play in a park, Bo loses his temper and punches Rex - just what Rex and his colleagues in hiding wanted -and film. This episode, for which he has to pay out $500,000, triggers a feud between Bo and the gang of four paparazzi: Rex, Wendell (Daniel Baldwin), Leonard (Tom Hollander) and Kevin (Kevin Gage). The paparazzi gang up in two vans and chase Bo's family sedan, a chase that ends in an accident with Bo's wife (Robin Tunney) injured, and his beloved son, Zach (Blake Bryan), in a coma. Bo takes matters into his own hands to put an end to the paparazzi pesterings.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The cheesy title of Bo Laramie's star-making movie, Adrenaline Force, is an early indicator of the shallow pool of creative talent that drives this film. It begins with Bo arriving for the red carpet premiere, and despite the fact that the film hasn't opened and this is his first lead role ("six months ago I couldn't get arrested," he quips), he is greeted by thousands of adoring fans and a flank of paparazzi, as if he were Tom Cruise. He already lives in a Malibou mansion, but he doesn't have any security guards. He's on the cover of cheap supermarket gossip magazines, despite having a very ordinary family life - and being a bit of a bore.
It's as if real stars had all been whisked away by aliens, leaving the tacky end of the media nothing but Bo Laramie to persecute. For reasons never explained. Until he punches the obnoxious Rex Harper (Tom Sizemore) for snapping his family at play. The odd thing here is that this superstar is so hot that paparazzi have set up an ambush, yet he is walking around in the park unmolested by the public. His fans seem confined to the red carpet.
On the set of the sequel, things are just as bad: considering the director, Paul Abascal, is an experienced movie hair stylist with several tv shows to his directorial credit (though this is his first feature), it's inexcusable how he shoots the on set scenes, so lacking in authenticity. For instance, this superstar Bo Laramie is pouring his coffee from the catering tent like an extra. And when he finally acquires a security guard, the guard walks up to him and introduces himself to Bo plain and simple, sent by the studio. This doesn't happen.
Not only is Bo's stardom a fake, so is he. Cole Hauser's Bo is not presented as an actor, or even a rounded human being. He's not a likeable guy, not even when he's feeling sorry for his son. In fact, the only vaguely sympathetic character in the film is Dennis Farina's Detective Burton, a nice mix of Columbo's understated detective style and Farina's own charisma. The paparazzi are painted with the same clumsy brush as is Bo, and their one dimensional characters match the film's one dimensional screenplay, in which all reality is turned into a terrible plastic replica.
There are a couple of good scenes, and a smattering of humour which includes a three second cameo by Mel Gibson sitting in the waiting room of Bo's anger management consultant. And another in which Chris Rock plays a pizza delivery driver. That's it for fun. Gibson's company, Icon, produced the film, and it has the Gibson stamp: it's another ugly revenge movie masquerading as entertainment.
As for the car chase with the paparazzi, it has all the sickening associations with the death of Princess Di, and revives the totally discredited notion that the accident was caused by the paparazzi. This sequence, a crucial part of the plot, is not only sickening in its brutality, it is obnoxious for its stupidity. Bo is driving his wife and son on a Los Angeles city street at night. Looks late, little traffic. That aside, he's driving slowly. The two vans of paparazzi zoom in, either side, and now the three cars are speeding, as the flashes explode in his eyes. He doesn't brake and slow down or stop, he keeps going. Finally stopping in the middle of the deserted road, another van sized car hurtles into the sedan from nowhere. The paparazzi then hurtle back to a frenzy of photos of the wreckage and the unconscious accident victims.
Manipulative and crude, the screenplay lacks any connection to real life and the director fails to make us care or believe in any of it.
The DVD contains a featurette and trailer.
Published February 17, 2005
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PAPARAZZI: DVD (M)
CAST: Cole Hauser, Robin Tunney, Dennis Farina, Daniel Baldwin, Tom Hollander, Kevin Gage, Blake Michael Bryan, Tom Sizemore
PRODUCER: Bruce Davey, Mel Gibson, Stephen McEveety
DIRECTOR: Paul Abascal
SCRIPT: Forrest Smith
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Daryn Okada
EDITOR: Robin Russell
MUSIC: Brian Tyler
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Robb Wilson King
RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: Featurette; trailer
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video
DVD RELEASE: February 10, 2005
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.