In order to understand my review of Paparazzi, you first need to know how I feel about them.
In all of the layers of hell, Paparazzi occupy the basement. Actually, they’re the scum on the floor, making it easier for the basement dwellers to poop on them. I understand being a celebrity comes with restrictions, but freedom to live their private life, out of the spotlight, shouldn’t be one of them.

Tell that to the current breed of Paparazzi who do anything to anyone in order to get their shot. They invade private moments, ruin weddings and funerals, and I truly believe Princess Diana would be alive today if it weren’t for their ilk.

I hate when E! Television devotes air time to these vultures, and if justice and fairness were the same thing, they would be branded stalkers and forced to get real jobs.

So it’s easy to gauge my excitement over Paparazzi, a revenge fantasy about a new action star who gets even with the nasty Paparazzi who hound his every step. Open season on Paparazzi? Sounds like a great idea, one that gets only moderate mileage from writer Forrest Smith.

Cole Hauser stars as Bo Laramie, a freshly-scrubbed Montana kid who has just become Hollywood’s newest boy toy. Bo understands and plays by the rules, allowing the Paparazzi to take countless pictures at his premiere. When they start infiltrating his private life, taking pictures of his son and wife, Bo decides enough is enough. His demands are met with legalized harassment, leading to a horrific accident that puts his wife and son in the hospital.

In true Death Wish style, Bo learns the only way to beat people hiding behind archaic stalking laws is to apply some Frontier justice of his own. It doesn’t start off that way, but a chance encounter with a photographer on a motorcycle gives Bo the incentive and blood thirst to end his nightmare once and for all.

It’s easy to root for Bo and his dilemma in Paparazzi because the film never aspires to be anything more than a B-movie. Smith’s screenplay is effective but hardly exceptional. Characters and motivations are obvious and conventional. The only surprise is that Paparazzi ended up in theaters instead of on the USA Network.

Even as a B-movie, Paparazzi lacks the guts to go the distance. Director Paul Abascal, Mel Gibson’s former hairdresser, is saddled with an audience-friendly PG-13 rating that doesn’t allow him to get down and dirty. The action is generic, never approaching the white-knuckle zenith of its predecessors. The action should match the over-the-top histrionics of the villains, especially Tom Sizemore as the leader of the rat pack. Their comeuppance should be as brutal and conscience-free as their previous actions.

Paparazzi won’t put the photo whores out of business, but it might cause Hollywood to rethink their options in dealing with them. I’m sure Star and Enquirer readers can live without another shot of Tom Hanks trying to take a quiet stroll on the beach. Get a life!

Shuttering the Shutter-Bugs

Waiting For a Good Movie To Develop


Cole Hauser, Robin Tunney, Dennis Farina, Tom Sizemore, Daniel Baldwin, Tom Hollander, Devin Gage. Directed by Paul Abascal. Rated PG-13. 85 Minutes.


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