Paparazzi (2004)

(In theaters, September 2004) Normally, it’s easy to emphasize with movie heroes looking out for their families. But when confronted with such a hypocritical piece of work like Paparazzi, it’s even harder to care. A revenge fantasy made for those dozens (dozens, I tell you!) actors rich enough to be hounded by celebrity photographers, Paparazzi makes its first mistake when it introduces a hero with serious attitude problems. Most of us could deal with paparazzis with a touch of tact; here, our protagonist starts pounding. Ahem. Then our antagonists are just as quickly sketched as lewd and amoral caricatures of pure evil, prone to hissy fits where they vow “I’ll destroy you!”. Uh-huh. (The script is so detached from reality that it features a woman jumping into bed right after witnessing her one-night-stand leaving the scene of a terrible accident he just caused. Whaaat?) The rest of the picture is a revenge fantasy where our sympathies naturally migrate toward the photographers rather than the rich-and-famous-actor. The awful coincidences, dumb contrivances and limp plotting do nothing to make us care and more. By the time the protagonist’s self-styled therapy session has given him the tools required to face his celebrity (“I’ve killed a bunch of your colleagues; how’s it going, champ? Take another picture of me, willya?”), normal audiences are left to face the fact that this is what passes for entertainment these days.

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