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The Mod Squad

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Mod Squad

Starring: Claire Danes, Giovanni Ribisi
Director: Scott Silver
Rated: R
RunTime: 94 Minutes
Release Date: March 1999
Genres: Action, Thriller

*Also starring: Omar Epps, Carmen Lee

Review by MrBrown
1 star out of 4

My memories of TV super-producer Aaron Spelling's original late '60s-early '70s action series are fuzzy at best. I don't think I've ever seen a full episode, but I do recall the image of three young, cool cops running together in pursuit of a perp. I may not know much, but I know this: the new big screen revival of the series sure as hell isn't how I remember it.

The new _Mod_Squad_ is a study in how a surefire idea gets botched in the execution. The premise of having a group of three young ex-crooks--Julie Barnes (Claire Danes), Linc Hayes (Omar Epps), and Pete Cochrane (Giovanni Ribisi)--do undercover police work is a concept ripe for updating. But any high hopes are just about immediately let down, then wiped out completely in one early scene where the three talk in a car. Sounds simple enough, but Danes, Epps, and Ribisi show no group chemistry whatsoever. Some squad this is--and for reasons known only to Silver and co-writers Stephen Kay and Kate Lanier, they spend most of the film in individual plot threads.

Individually, though, these actors have problems of their own. Danes is a good enough sport, but she appears somewhat ill-at-ease in this, her first popcorn movie. Ribisi's Pete is only slightly more intelligent than his character in _The_Other_Sister_, and his portrayal is every bit as grating. The only one who appears the slightest bit in place is Epps, but he literally runs through the film. In fact, those running scenes are all that in-over-his-head director Scott Silver (whose only other film was the low-budget indie drama _johns_) tries to pass off as action in this talky, terrible film. After the one-two failed franchise punch of this and _The_Rage:_Carrie_2_, MGM is once again left to wait for James Bond to rescue them with his next, certain-to-be-a-blockbuster adventure, due in November.

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