Where's Marlowe?

It's simple, really: A mockumentary about the making of a documentary about two young filmmakers trying to make a documentary about a private detective. Got it? No matter: All you really need to know is that this smart spoof of film noir and filmmaking is very clever and riotously funny. Fresh from lulling audiences to sleep with their magnum opus "Watering...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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It's simple, really: A mockumentary about the making of a documentary about two young filmmakers trying to make a documentary about a private detective. Got it? No matter: All you really need to know is that this smart spoof of film noir and filmmaking is very

clever and riotously funny. Fresh from lulling audiences to sleep with their magnum opus "Watering the Apple" — a three-hour documentary about New York City drinking water — A.J. Edison (John Livingston) and Wilton Crawley (Mos Def) head out to Los Angeles for their next project:

"Where's Marlowe? Examining the Private Detective in Late 20th Century America." Their subject is Joe Boone (Miguel Ferrer), a "personal inquiry" agent who agrees to lead them on a tour of the mean streets of L.A. as he goes in search of that one case filled with all the sex and mystery of the

infamous Black Dahlia murder. Boone could also use the business: He's so deep in the hole that when his partner Murphy (John Slattery) up and quits, Boone decides to shut down the agency. Never ones to let a good subject slip away — even if means throwing all objectivity out the window —

A.J. and Wilton offer to help, becoming active participants in the agency and their own film. Their first case involves neighbors squabbling over canine malfeasance, i.e. dog poop on the lawn. Their next case, however, has all the elements of a classic, hard-boiled mystery: A jealous wife, a

larcenous secretary, the retail beeper king of L.A. and one very dead body. To say anymore is to say too much, for wrapped inside all the knowing humor and snappy dialogue is a pretty good Raymond Chandler-esque mystery that works on its own terms. With his gravelly voice, clipped delivery, and

seen-it-all expression, Ferrer is a perfect update of Chandler's white knight of the City of Angels. Made on what appears to have been a shoestring budget, the film is further proof of just how far a little imagination, a lot of talent and not much else can take you.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: R
  • Review: It's simple, really: A mockumentary about the making of a documentary about two young filmmakers trying to make a documentary about a private detective. Got it? No matter: All you really need to know is that this smart spoof of film noir and filmmaking is… (more)

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