Dull and unnecessary, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF KEVIN JOHNSON is an interminable mockumentary featuring toothless satire and tepid movie star cameos.
An unseen British documentarian investigates the case of globe- trotting entrepreneur Kevin Johnson, who vanished just as his film proposal was green-lighted for production. Although Johnson's movie star acquaintances Pierce Brosnan, Dudley Moore, and James Coburn sing the praises of their bon
vivant friend, the documentarian's interviews suggest that the saga of Kevin Johnson is a combination of toadying and confidence games, raised to an art form.
Johnson began by bribing travel agent Fred Barrett (Guy Siner) to seat him next to Hollywood's power elite on airplanes. Charming his way onto Tinseltown's A-list party circuit, Johnson began pitching movie projects like a veteran hack. How then did Johnson wind up in a luxury car that was dredged
up from San Pedro Bay? Johnson's drug-abusing major domo, Ricky Ryan (John Hillard), reveals that Johnson's entre into moviedom's inner circle arose through his talent as a procurer for film execs. Pimpdom and blackmail pressured powerful moguls like Larry Hillman (Richard Neil) into financing
Johnson's movie proposal.
Piecing together testimony from super agent Jeff Littman (Michael Brandon), ousted studio chief Willis Stevens (Rick Peters), and an assortment of LA flotsam and jetsam, the documentarian deduces that Johnson never intended to become a Hollywood power-broker; he only wanted to pocket the up-front
money from the production deal and skip town (faking his death to leave a cold trail). Unlike the other movie-struck souls questioned in this documentary, Johnson never had any illusions about heeding the siren call of Hollywood.
Writer-director Francis Megahy clearly had visions of Robert Altman's THE PLAYER (1992) dancing in his head. However, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF KEVIN JOHNSON isn't a riddle wrapped in a wry enigma or a mean-spirited comedy ensconced in Altmanesque observations about cupidity. It's a retread of
Hollywood cliches cocooned in a tabloid journalism send-up: Hard Copy Meets The Bad and The Beautiful. Within the limits of pricking the air of Big Studio windbags, this limp mockumentary is surprisingly tame and laughless. The stars seem in cameos as themselves appear uncomfortable, and the snide
vignettes spotlighting Hollywood has-beens and never-wases are flaccid and shallow. In the end, we're presented with the solution to a mystery we don't care about. (Extreme profanity, adult situations, substance abuse.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: Dull and unnecessary, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF KEVIN JOHNSON is an interminable mockumentary featuring toothless satire and tepid movie star cameos. An unseen British documentarian investigates the case of globe- trotting entrepreneur Kevin Johnson, who vani… (more)