The Hollywood creative rut of recycling old TV show reruns has finally gotten deep enough to reach The Mod Squad. A ridiculous show to start with, should we be surprised that it has spawned an even more ridiculous movie?
It seems that the qualifications to work as a cop are completely optional. At least that is what Detective Greer (Dennis Farnia) decides when he recruits three young criminals to form an elite, though weaponless, undercover squad…the Mod Squad. Whose great idea was this?!? The film conveniently starts in media res, so we never get to hear Greer’s arguments for turning the justice system on its head.
In any event, the Squad is composed of Julie (Claire Danes), Linc (Omar Epps) and Pete (Giovanni Ribisi), guilty respectively of assault, arson and robbery. Their mission in the movie is to infiltrate a high class prostitution ring. Oh, and to look cool while doing it.
But things quickly go wrong. Soon, The Mod Squad are imbroiled in a web of murder, deceit, drug deals and police corruption. Before you jump to the conclusion that this sounds interesting, let me assure you that any life and excitement that may have one time inhabited this plot has long since fled the scene.
The Mod Squad’s best attribute, nay, its only positive attribute, is its sense of style, and even that is troublingly forced. Shot with moody colored lighting, and the occasional wild angle, The Mod Squad is less of a film that an extended length music video…without the entertainment factor.
There are a few good actors buried under the moldy plot and pointless dialogue. The film tries to give each of the Mod Members a poignant scene or two. Julie runs afoul of an old flame (Josh Brolin), Pete tries to reconcile with his parents, and Linc…well, Linc really likes his car.
But then, there’s the plot. Ugh…what a plot! The whole thing relies on the bad guys clearly stating their evil intentions in a loud enough voice to make any James Bond villain proud. I guess since policework is this easy, it’s no wonder any random criminal can be a cop.
And don’t go to see The Mod Squad expecting any excitement. The characters themselves even remark how incredibly boring it is, sitting around in cars. And yet, nothing is ever done to liven things up. Even the few “action” scenes are dull and lifeless.
The Mod Squad is the type of film that is best enjoyed merely from watching its commercials. Subject yourself to this mindless movie in quantities larger than 30 seconds, and you’ll certainly regret it.