Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
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Some celebrities love to deride the concept of fame; others wonder what the heck they could possibly have to complain about. Paparazzi offers a fairly plausible answer.
Bo Laramie finds himself at the helm of a new action flick that is on its way to becoming a franchise. Now, he and his family are richer than dirt and more famous than they ever dreamed.
Not even two minutes into Paparazzi and we're already catching the hint of what long term effect a strobe-like assault of camera flashes can have on a person. Ah, but the flashes are the least of Bo's problems once you see who's behind the camera. Now, he's got camera guys showing up at his house, and a hundred other places at the most inopportune moments. Which for most of us would be what, like 95% of the time?
No moment could be more inopportune, though than that of while driving at night. But not even that is too out-of-bounds for these guys. And so ensues what will eventually become vehicular manslaughter. Does Princess Di ring any bells? 'Cause if that's not what inspired this movie then I don't know what to tell ya.
This is an easy story to follow, almost too easy. Guy gets famous, camera guys start stalking him, his family gets hurt, he gets P.O.'ed and goes all Demolition Man on them. It's a situation most of us could relate to... in our dreams. Which, if that's where you spend a lot of time, well then there ya go. Many of us have dreamed of fame and maybe not considered the whole package that comes with it.
The script is adequate, albeit predictable. A lot of the best lines actually come from the bad guys, talkin' about their adventures trying to shoot J-Lo. The "can't wait to do it" speech is not one of those "best lines" I refer to; quite frankly I don't know how that even made the trailer. This line would have worked better: "Everybody wants to have steak, but nobody wants to date the butcher."
Cole Hauser plays the extremely angry Bo Laramie, sort of like a cocky version of Christian Slater. he has the look of a guy who, even when he's calm, the thought of ticking him off still gives you the willies.
Robin Tunney and Blake Bryan play his wife and son, respectively. They are pretty typical cardboard cut-outs of the stereotypical family in distress. Still, it's hard not to be affected when the son lies in a coma in the hospital, his father sits silently watching him, and there's the camera guy at the door.
Tom Sizemore is fairly cardboard himself as Bo's nemesis, Rex Harper. In the action sequences, it's like he's a puppet just going through the motions and in non-action sequences, he's about as menacing as a bowl of Kibbles N Bits.
The one remarkable performance comes from Dennis Farina as Detective Burton. But arguably, he also has the best script and the only role that's not strictly black or white. You always get mixed messages about what exactly he believes or whose side he's on. But when he and Bo are together, they're like best buds. It's an awkward role and Farina breezes right through it.
In the battle of Bo vs. the paparazzi, the reversals are kind of sluggish. As soon as Bo gets the slightest advantage over them, suddenly he dominates them. I admit, this can be a guilty pleasure if the villains are nasty enough, but I know some of y'all are different. Only at one point afterward do they ever pose any formidable threat.
There is no shortage of irony in that even though the paparazzi are the "bad guys", Big Brother ends up being an integral part of their undoing.
And yet at the same time, you have to wonder how much stalking in the world has been prevented for the very reason that the urge was pacified by an issue of Weekly World News. It seems to be a natural human urge to live vicariously through the lives of others as a kind of respite from our own mind-numbing routines. It could be a psychological need for some people, unless you really want to assume they do things like that because they want to. They could be literally starving for steak, in constant need of some "connection" to the life of someone else. That could easily be a movie star whom it's easy to subconsciously assume you know because he/she played a character you identified closely with.
Nonetheless, one can't help but be bothered that this issue was confronted so one-sidedly. It would have been nice to hear more from "the other side", rather than seeing them go around like Imperial stormtroopers ruining other people's lives as if to imply that there is no "other side". There's so much more to it than murder or the invasion of privacy; it's an issue in which we ourselves, the audience, could almost be construed as the bad guys. Not that I want a movie to chip away at my self-esteem, but I no more desire one that doles out black and white messages of who's the bad guy and who's the good guy as collectedly as if it were a dealer at the poker table.
Sooo anyway, if you're looking for a movie that'll get you all riled up about the world's stupidity, Paparazzi should please you right up until the credits, and for maybe 10 minutes afterward. But if you want a true blue look at both sides, break out the hounds and keep looking.
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Better than Watching TV
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older