My two-bit summary: The campiest potrayal of a hardboiled 70s detective novel anyone has ever made, featuring a sardonic detective with Horatio Caine swagger dividing his time between outsmarting low-lifes and protecting the pretty young blonde who came to him for help.
So Billy Burke is playing his usual grumpyfaced-with-a-glimmer-of-caring self, today going by the name Chris Mankowski, and within the first ten minutes he's gotten himself transferred to Sex Crimes and taken the statement of doe-eyed 20-year-old actor ("you don't say actress anymore") Greta, who is literally everything you picture a cliche damsel in distress in a detective novel to be. Including the part where if you thought introducing her as a rape victim was going to do anything to subvert them sleeping together halfway through the movie, you would be wrong.
(this results in delightful times for me, but is also just the most bizarre LOLWHUT moment. I know there is not a uniform way to react to assault, but this is just so obviously being used as a mere plot device to introduce the Pretty Young Thing What Needs Protectin', it's not even trying to pretend otherwise)
He then proceeds to spend the rest of the movie trading snippy quips with every bad guy in his path, making sarcastic observations left and right, and appointing himself her bodyguard, which starts with having her stay at his place for safety after she gets a threatening phone call at home.
(and by "threatening" I mean the caller pleasantly offered her a large sum of money to forget the incident, she got all "HE KNOWS WHERE I LIVE," and he was like, "welp, that's all I need to hear; what is professionalism")
Top benefits of this arrangement:
- Does the honorable "well, here's your guest bedroom, good night" despite all the intensity crackling between them. (fortunately for us, because nothing in this movie makes sense, she's decided that jumping into bed with guys she's met is still totally cool and fun and easy, and he doesn't have to be called twice.)
- Provides us with a delightful morning-after scene that is only a teensy bit marred by some exceptionally gross shoulder tattoos and a slightly less gross cigarette in his mouth.
Then there's the part where he shows up to collect her at The Mansion Of Bad Times ("Where's Greta?" in a very calm, I-am-only-going-to-ask-nicely-once tone), only to find her super out of it on an acid trip, and after some concerned/reassuring noises toward her, proceeds to topple the asshole responsible out of his chair and get Menacing and Threatening about him spiking her drink. Awww! I didn't think I'd get aggressive protection in response to active harm! That's just the cherry on top of the sundae that is this entire movie, which contains even more interplay between the two of them I haven't covered, but suffice to say it includes things like shared meals and post-danger hugging.
Scenes without him are mostly not worth watching, so it's fortunate he's in most of them, but the runner-up MVP of this movie is Donnell, the rapist's* chauffeur/manager/manservant. Played by Michael Jai White, he makes an excellent counterpart to Mankowski's sarcasm by responding to everything in a pleasant drawl, unflinchingly polite and smiley even as he is constantly looking for ways to weasel himself the best deal. Also, just in case this movie wasn't SUPER SEVENTIES enough for ya, he gets the last word, which is to mutter, "Honkies."
*that feels so awkward to write...said rapist definitely did it, but is also permanently stoned out of his mind and basically a manchild, even prompting the victim to say she feels sorry for him. (Which might be another product of the "have you read literally anything from a rape victim ever" issue, but is also true as a viewer.) He also speaks in a constant grating whine and is the second-worst part about this movie.
The remainder contains boring, bomb-happy ex-hippie Bonnie & Clyde, the latter of whom is played by Christian Slater (both of whom are fairly worthless viewing until the payoff of seeing them getting their comeuppance), plus unnecessary Andy Dick, and two brief but still scarring and completely unnecessary sex scenes (one of them featuring him). Hence my inability to actually watch it straight through/with my parents/with anyone.
But those bits aside, it is quite the joyride of wall-to-wall ridiculousness. I recommend it to people with no expectations of quality.
P.S. I feel like this pair of screen caps tells you all you need to know about how 70s it is: