Ah, Tinseltown: that magical land of glitz and glamour where even a no-name schlub can become an instant celebrity—or at least make a movie about it. Admittedly, Paparazzi star and 2 Fast 2 Furious survivor Cole Hauser, whose great-grandfather was one of the Warner Bros., isn’t exactly as no-name as his character, Bo Laramie—but he’s no Paul Walker, either. When the release of Bo’s first action flick turns him into an overnight sensation, life is flipped pleasantly upside down for the actor and his painfully perfect all-American family. But behind the bright lights, of course, lurk the vulturous paparazzi, and before Bo can even finish walking down the red carpet, a foursome of tabloid photographers has already started circling. Luckily, Bo knows how to deal with such pesky members of the press: After an act of vehicular harassment turns especially nasty, leaving his son in a coma and his wife popping painkillers by the pool, the camera-totin’ bodies start piling up. That, apparently, is justice L.A.-style, and first-time screenwriter Forrest Smith is careful to make sure none of the real kind gets dispensed. Police Detective Burton (Dennis Farina) is, conveniently, either (a) too stupid to notice all the evidence Bo leaves in his murderous wake or (b) too willing to turn a blind eye. Good thing, too—otherwise we’d be deprived of the numerous quick-laugh celebrity cameos, including producer Mel Gibson showing up for anger therapy, a Fu Manchu–wearing Vince Vaughn, and Chris Rock as a wisecrackin’ pizza-delivery guy. Along with the four sleazy photojournalists themselves—date-rape-videotaping Rex (Tom Sizemore), whiny limey Leonard (Tom Hollander), redneck biker Kevin (Kevin Gage), and grizzled tabloid vet Wendell (Daniel Baldwin)—they distract just enough from the film’s contrived plot and plodding pace to keep things temporarily interesting. Otherwise, Paparazzi is a tiresome exercise in good-man-pushed-too-far clichés, celebrity aggrandizement, and wannabe-wry self-reference. As for Hauser, let’s just say that this movie isn’t anywhere near as likely as Laramie’s franchise-founding Adrenaline Rush to launch a career, though it does inadvertently uphold another Hollywood fable: that the lives of entertainment-industry A-listers are something mere moviegoers just can’t relate to.—Matthew Borlik

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