[box cover]

Paparazzi

Having long been singled out for their annoyance, the paparazzi (press photographers who often stalk celebs to get juicy photos, and named after a character in La Dolce Vita) are known as the scum of the entertainment world. Who knew the best way to deal with them was cold-blooded murder? Leave it to Mel Gibson, who produced and came up with the story for 2004's Paparazzi. The film follows hot new rising star Bo Laramie (Cole Hauser, who would normally never be mistaken for a superstar) as he has to confront the fact that he can't go to his kid's soccer match without having someone take pictures of him, and specifically prime sleaze Rex Harper (Tom Sizemore). After politely asking Harper to stop taking snapshots of his wife Abby (Robin Tunney) and son Zach (Blake Bryan), he ends up punching Harper, who has his crack team photograph the incident and then sues for damages. Not having gotten the apology that he wanted from Bo, Rex plans on destroying Bo's life by… taking a lot of pictures of him. After another premiere, Rex and his gang pursue Bo and his family as they drive home, flashing shots of him until their game gets too rough and one of Rex's guys ends up crashing into the Laramies, sending Zach into a coma and causing Abby to lose her spleen. Since the police can't find any evidence or witnesses to the accident — which Bo knows Rex caused — and after a traffic accident leads to Bo being able to kill one of the photographers, he figures the best thing to do is take the law into his own hands, though he's shadowed by detective Burton (Dennis Farina). A thoroughly preposterous film, Paparazzi asks the audience to take the side of Bo — a wealthy and successful man — who seemingly can't handle the basics tenets of fame, which involves being photographed and gossiped about (Bo must have had a heck of a time in grade school). Not only that, but the audience is asked to side with his homicidal tendencies, which though his family suffered a horrible car accident, it wasn't an intentional one. This was the other major project Mel Gibson was involved with in 2004, the year of his Passion of the Christ. And as Bo decidedly goes Old Testament on these photographers, it's hard not to question what exactly Gibson believes in if he could be behind something that plays like homicidal wish-fulfillment for the famous. Sadly, trying to figure that out is the most interesting element of the movie, which was directed by Paul Abscal, Gibson's former hairdresser. Cameo appearances by Chris Rock, Vince Vaughn, Matthew McConaughey, Tim Thomerson, and Gibson himself. Fox presents Paparazzi in both anamorphic (2.35:1) and pan-and scan transfers with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras include a commentary by Abscal, three deleted scenes with optional commentary, a "making-of" (4 min.), "The Stunts of Paparazzi"(9 min.), and the theatrical trailer. Keep-case.
—DSH



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