The Mod Squad

"Weak"

The Mod Squad Review


That fact that "The Mod Squad" opens with a dictionary definitionof "mod" appearing on the screen -- altered to include GenerationY hipsters -- did not bode well for the intelligence level to which thismovie was aiming.

The fact that this definition was followed by another forthe word "squad" left me with little hope that the pic wouldhave anything going for it besides 90 minutes of Claire Danes in tummytops.

Then came the opening credits with psychedelically colored,MTV-edited mug shots of Linc (Omar Epps), Pete (Giovanni Ribisi) and Julie(Danes) -- who are convicted juvies working undercover for the LAPD --accompanied by a voice over saying things like "this little girl wasas hard as the come." Claire Danes? Please! She can't even walk toughwithout looking like one shoe is missing a heel.

The latest in a barrage of so-called "classic"TV shows adapted for the big screen, "The Mod Squad" is a realstretch. The 1968-1972 B-grade cop show about three far out delinquentsnarc-ing for the pigs, man, was never exactly quality programming to beginwith (Early Aaron Spelling. Need I say more?), and this feature film doesn'ttry very hard to improve on it.

Directed by Scott Silver ("johns"), the pictureis largely soundtrack over substance and doesn't even bother filling inthe blanks regarding how or why our heroes came to be cops. Instead itrushes to introduce a resolved-in-an-hour, TV-style plot about drugs missingfrom an evidence locker, crooked cops and a couple of low-rent pimps/mobsterswho, by some wild coincidence, each have a connection to Julie, Linc orPete.

When their police department mentor (Dennis Farina) isframed and murdered, the mod squad, which has never been viewed favorablyby the rest of the cops in the precinct, sets out to solve the crime ontheir own, amidst a backdrop of wah-wah guitar action sequence music andthe requisite cop movie running gags.

"I feel like one of us should say 'I'm gettin' tooold for this s---,'" Pete complains, as if acknowledging it somehowexcuses the movie's complete lack of originality or common sense.

My favorite scene is the one in which for no logical reasontwo ski-masked white guys break into Linc's ghetto pad and start shootingup the joint in broad daylight.

The sad thing is, "The Mod Squad" is a wasteof three good, young leads. Danes has already established herself as oneof the better actresses of her generation in varied roles in films like"Little Women," "Home for the Holidays," "U-Turn" and "The Rainmaker." She gets the most character to chew on herewith a sub-plot about a much older ex-lover (Josh Brolin) who comes backinto her life. Their relationship is poorly established and, of course,he must inevitably be one of the bad guys. But Danes makes their rekindlingof believable nonetheless.

Ribisi ("Saving Private Ryan," "TheOther Sister"), as the unhinged clown ofbunch, and Epps ("Higher Learning," "Juice") as thestoic Linc, whose vintage Lincoln Continental gets repeatedly batteredin one of those running gags, share a resentful dodge and parry liftedfrom the "Lethal Weapon" movies, but somehow manage to freshenit up a tad.

But aside from successfully giving his picture an early'70s revivalist air, which seems to be in vogue in crime movies this year("Payback,""TheCorruptor"), Silver has very little tooffer in the way of consistency, ingenuity or flair.

If it looks like a bad '70s cop show, sounds like a bad'70s cop show and has a plot like a bad '70s cop show, what's the pointof making a feature film? Just watch a bad '70s cop show, if you can findone.

Funny thing is, even in a world of 100-plus cable channels,bad '70s cop shows haven't been revived. This movie is a cogent reminderthat there's a good reason for that.



The Mod Squad

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th March 1999

Box Office Worldwide: $13.3M

Budget: $50M

Distributed by: MGM

Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 4%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 50

IMDB: 4.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Julie Barnes, as Peter Cochran, as Lincoln Hayes, as Captain Adam Greer, as Billy Waites, as Det. Briggs, as Det. Bob Mothershed

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.