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Paparazzi (2004)

One good shot deserves another

Rating: 1/10

Running Time: 84 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 15

In some ancient cultures, it’s believed that every time you’re photographed you lose a little bit of your soul. In modern day celebrity culture, it’s believed that every time you’re photographed you lose a little bit of your chance to get an exclusive deal with ‘Hello’ magazine. Reason enough, then, for Hollywood A-lister Bo Laramie (Cole Hauser) to embark upon a murderous rampage when those irksome members of the paparazzi set their flashes off in his face one time too many. Isn’t it? Well, actually, no – it’s not.

Okay, so admittedly what happens to send our camera-shy protagonist over the edge is a little more serious than just having a zoom lens pointed towards his nethers. He’s out driving with his family one day, when the press pack catch up with him and, in the car chase that ensues, end up causing an almighty crash which leaves son Zach (Blake Bryan) in a coma and wife Abby (Robin Tunney) needing her spleen removed (which probably wasn’t originally intended to sound as funny as it actually does). Before you can say “cheese” (take that as a reference to either the photography theme or the overall quality of the film – both are equally appropriate), Bo has set about picking off the snappers involved one by one.

At the helm is hairdresser-turned-director Paul Abascal, but if he cuts barnets like he handles a movie, I’d be marching out of his barber’s shop without paying. His style is pedestrian and woefully unimaginative, but his handling of the gig is by no means the worst thing about the film. Written by Forrest Smith, this is a story tasteless in the extreme, championing grubby-pawed vigilantism and uncomfortably referencing the death of Princess Diana in a wildly misjudged attempt to get the viewer on-side with the lead’s predicament. A far more effective idea on that front might have been to hire an actor less perma-starched than Hauser to play the part – but even that probably wouldn’t have made this morally-vacuous piece of work any less uncomfortable to watch.

It's Got: Producer Mel Gibson making a brief cameo appearance – along with Chris Rock, Vince Vaughn and Matthew McConaughey. Shame on the lot of them. Especially you, Gibbers.

It Needs: To have left the lens cap on – or, at the very least, have been filmed with the cameraman’s thumb in the way so as to cut down on how much cack there is on screen.


Call it ‘Pap’ for short – you won’t find a more appropriate nickname OR description.