Satires about the movie industry have existed since the Golden Age, with classics such as Blake Edwards’s S.O.B. to Robert Altman’s The Player. Unfortunately, one of the blackest sheeps of Hollywood parody is the mockumentary film Burn Hollywood Burn, one that attempts to realize Alan Smithee, a pseudonym for film directors who claim disownment of their projects. Here, Smithee (Eric Idle) is an English filmmaker who, tired of being the studio punchline, steals the reels for his $200 million motion picture “Trio” and threatens to burn them unless Hollywood agrees to release his original version. “Trio” is an action movie-within-a-movie starring Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jackie Chan as three gun-wielding detectives. Various studio heads get interviewed from James Edmonds (Ryan O’Neal), Jerry Glover (Richard Jeni), and the Brothers Brothers (Chuck D and Coolio), all of which try to talk Alan out of burning his movie. Obviously, Burn Hollywood Burn tries to be for movies what Rob Reiner’s This is Spinal Tap does for the music industry, but this one doesn’t take any risks or try to attack the Hollywood system. Instead, it aims for the obvious, with painful in-jokes, tired visual gags, painfully offensive African American stereotypes, obligatory celebrity cameos and sleazy interviewee subtitles, all in a desperate attempt for a laugh. In fact, I was surprised that everyone involved in the making didn’t change their names to Alan Smithee, especially Harvey Weinstein (surprisingly, not his most shameful act). At least Arthur Hiller, usually a talented director in his own right, had the courage to back out. Whatever the case, Burn Hollywood Burn sucks.
(1/2 Blackface Cane out of 5)