Thursday Night Movie Club
star rating graphicstar rating graphic½
Release Date: September 3, 2004

Director: Paul Abascal
Cole Hauser
Robin Tunney
Dennis Farina
Daniel Baldwin
Tom Hollander
Kevin Gage
Blake Michael Bryan
Tom Sizemore
Andrea Baker
Jordan Baker
Joe Basile
Lauren Birkell
Wendy Braun
Kelly Carlson
Greg Castro
Bo Laramie
Abby Laramie
Detective Burton
Wendell Stokes
Leonard Clark
Kevin Rosner
Zach Laramie
Rex Harper
Dr. Kelley
Police Lab Tech
Bo's Publicist
Paparzzi poster
Paparazzi is not a great film. But it is a very enjoyable action flick that I liked quite a bit. It is very funny if you've seen a lot of TV detective shows and a lot of movies.

Bo Laramie is an up and coming movie star from Montana. He was lucky enough to be cast in a movie that became a mega-blockbuster. Now the problems begin for the "good 'ole boy" from Montana. Thanks to press releases, everyone has come out for the premiere of his first film. It is a huge hit and the paparazzi are there to record the event. Flash bulbs fly and Bo finds himself a "fish out of water". Laramie doesn't know how the game is played in Hollywood and he becomes a prime target for the "tabloid journalists" (paparazzi).

Before Laramie can blink, the paparazzi are all over his private life. Understandably, he doesn't mind people taking pictures of him, but he is extremely pived that they are taking pictures of his son. Family should be sacred, especially children. The paparazzi think otherwise. Laramie, civililly tries to talk the paparzzi out of taking photos of his son. When that fails, Laramie punches out Rex Harper, a photographer who has made a fortune out of provoking celebrities and winning a fortune from court settlements.

Do the paparazzi stop their assault after the trial? Well, fellas, there wouldn't be much of a movie if they did. The gang of four harass Laramie continuously to try to provoke another "money making outburst" from him. They go so far as to surround his car one night, with his family present, of course. The situation results in an auto accident. Laramie and his family are injured, some seriously. Another innocent victim lies dead at the scene. The paparazzi gaze upon the havoc for a short moment, before regaining their true identity of "documenting the scene". They are oblivious to the mayhem they have caused. The scene is a bit over the top depicting the uncaring nature of the paparazzi, but other true stories of other celebrities' encounters with paparazzi bear out the horror here (i.e. Princess Diana).

When an accidental encounter involving Laramie and one of the "gang of four" leads to a death, Laramie finds a safe but effective way out of his nightmare. Can he innocently destroy those bent on destroying him?

Sound familiar? Jake brought this up during the movie and I agree, seeing as the movie was produced by Mel Gibson. Paparazzi. The plot line is very similar to Gibson's Mad Max. A man goes follows a his personal creed. When that is violated and the people he loves are injured, he becomes a one-man vigilante.

As Bo Laramie, Cole Hauser is very good as the husband bent on revenge. Hauser has all of the good looks and charm that would make him an action movie star. But as Bo Laramie, he still retains the small-town values that the rest of us live by. Laramie is lost when the rest of the world can't make the distinction between his fictional persona and his real world. What I find amazing is that I haven't heard/seen him before this movie. Maybe Cole Hauser will become the next action movie hero in the U.S.

The remainder of the movie is highlighted by Dennis Farina, doing his best "Lt. Columbo" impersonation (like I said, you had to have seen lots of TV shows and movies to appreciate Farina's acting here). Tom Sizemore is wonderfully wicked as the lead paparazzi in the "gang of four". Sizemore is one of the most underrated character actors in films. He is wickedly perverse, in a good way for his depiction of a man who is willing to sacrifice all to make a buck. Capitalism at its best and worst.

The main problem with Paparazzi is that it comes off as way too standard of an action flick. It misses the boat for really making a scary movie regarding the situation of what happens after an "over night" climb to stardom. The movie is horrific only during the road accident scene, but it fails to capitalize on the events. The result is a happy ending, when the climax should have been much more skin-crawling unnerving.

The best parts: Look for the abundant cameos and the subtle humor. The best humorous scene is the "gang of four" discussing their previous triumphs, and one of them mentions besting Alec/Adam Baldwin, whichever! The scene is funny because it is brother Daniel Baldwin making the joke. Paparazzi could have been a classic like Doctor Strangelove but the writers are not up to Kubrick's biting commentary.

Like I said, I liked it but it's not very good!