The Mod Squad
** BM
Starring: Claire Danes, Omar Epps, Giovanni Ribisi, Dennis Farina, Josh Brolin


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Unless you have some sort of nostalgia working in your favor, a lot of stuff from the 70s is kinda hard to watch. Ugly clothing, long and pointless musical interludes, bad dialog and ridiculous stylization. Of course, this is in no way exclusive to the 70s, but there's the current revival in interest about all sorts of crap from that era, and so Aaron Spelling churns out a movie based on his old TV show. Does this mean that in 20 years we're going to have "Love Boat: The Next Wave II: Electric Boogaloo" to look forward to? Joy upon joys.

Admittedly, I've never seen the TV version of "The Mod Squad," but this movie does nothing to make me interested in it. Julie (Claire Danes), Pete (Giovanni Ribisi) and Linc (Omar Epps) are delinquents given a chance to turn their lives around by Detective Greer (Dennis Farina) by earning their merit badges in Undercover Policework. Then, they stop bad guys. That's it.

Problems are evident right away. Omar Epps is one of the coolest guys in the history of the galaxy, but this movie has him walking around like Tarzan, which either means his pants were way too tight, or director Scott Silver was giving him notes like 'you gotta be cool, Linc is cool, show me cool.' When you have that naturally in spades like Epps does, this kind of overdirection causes him to try to walk around with a really stupid-looking gait, thus negating the cool he was born with.

Add to this some ridiculously slow pacing, transparent and stupid bad guys like Billy (Josh Brolin) and all the 'dirty cops,' an amazingly bland and uninteresting performance from Danes and the fact that the crown jewel of dialog is Ribisi yelling 'Yeah, Bob!' over a loudspeaker, and you've got a movie that ain't worth the soundtrack it was made to sell.

Unfortunately, this most likely won't put a stop to the strip mining of even the most loathsome aspects of the 1970s for regurgitation into bad movies. But it'd be nice to hope it would.

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