A contemporary detective saga, HOLLYWOOD CONFIDENTIAL is a feature-length pilot for a never-realized syndicated series that offers pasteurized sleaze.
Having renounced the LAPD over its failure to prevent a battered wife from becoming a fatality, ex-cop Stan Navarro (Edward James Olmos) runs a state-of-the art detective agency. His large staff of specialists includes Joey DiRosa (Ricky Aiello), who is currently scrutinizing the background of
acting coach/movie producer Dee Dee Powers (Kristen Dalton), surveillance expert Jack Hansen (Anthony Yerkovich), and Sally Bowen (Charlize Theron), who goes undercover to nab a bartender (Thomas Patti) suspected of skimming at a trendy nightclub.
Though he accepts many seamy cases, Stan bristles at being pressured by studio executive Barry Bliss (J. Downing) into representing movie director Larry Brent (Brent Huff). But because he doesn't want to offend a steady customer, Stan agrees to dig up dirt on starlet Heather Norland (Sarah Lassez)
to prevent her from going public about her affair with (and pregnancy by) the married Brent.
Sally is viciously beaten when the bartender she is investigating catches on to her. Lacking sufficient evidence to prosecute, Hansen and a fellow detective turn vigilante and return the beating. Stricken with remorse after Heather tries to kill herself, Stan publicly humiliates Brent at an awards
dinner and forces him to pay college tuition and child support to Heather. Stan's detectives plan to let their consciences be their guides when considering future cases.
As HOLLYWOOD CONFIDENTIAL zigs and zags through assorted sordid files, the viewer feels no connection to any of the paper-thin characters investigating or being investigated. Indeed, one story line (the Dee Dee Powers stakeout) doesn't even receive a proper conclusion, beyond some suggestions of
lesbian impropriety. Clumsily setting up further episodes that were never made, this pilot introduces too many payrolled employees and is interrupted too often by flashbacks to Stan's LAPD tenure. Another liability is the sporadic narration by star-producer-screenwriter Anthony Yerkovich (renowned
as a "Miami Vice" co-creator). His florid descriptions of soulless Los Angeles are inadvertently hilarious, like something inspired by Fred Astaire's Mickey Spillane patter in the "Girl Hunt" ballet from THE BANDWAGON (1954). With its sleek production sheen and attractive cast, HOLLYWOOD
CONFIDENTIAL had some promise as a weekly dip into the Hollywood cesspool. But instead of titillating viewers with juicy tidbits about blackmail and sexual trysts, it offers only sanitized sleuthing and perfunctory storytelling methods. (Violence, profanity, substance abuse.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: A contemporary detective saga, HOLLYWOOD CONFIDENTIAL is a feature-length pilot for a never-realized syndicated series that offers pasteurized sleaze. Having renounced the LAPD over its failure to prevent a battered wife from becoming a fatality, ex-cop S… (more)