The Disappearance Of Kevin Johnson Review

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Mockumentary talking heads about the Hollywood film industry


The mockumentary format pioneered by Spinal Tap, is rarely used for anything but satire, but this exercise in witty Hollywood-bashing is subtler than most. In fact, it's less hysterical than its apparent model, Nick Broomfield's Hollywood Madame.

With talking heads, snapshots of Beverly Hills and off-camera prompts from director-writer-interviewer Megahy, it catches exactly the tone of many recent TV shows about seamy Hollywood. Where it comes up short is in the central plot, which has to do with a British businessman who has had a meteoric rise in Hollywood social circles and may or may not be developing a movie. He also seems to know rather a lot of young, beautiful and disposable women.

There's a thriller subplot, with a body found in a car and a midnight threat to the filmmakers, but for the most part, this is about the characters: shallow execs, vapid actress wannabes and professional house guests.

Brosnan, James Coburn and Dudley Moore as themselves support a cast of unfamiliar players as the hangers-on and losers trailing in Johnson's wake. Brandon of Dempsey And Makepeace is unrecognisable (and good) as a canny agent, while Wuhrer triumphs as a poolside call girl who justifies her life, drops clues about the story and offers the entire crew a group party rate.

If you're the kind of person who turns to the Empire industry news section before you read the reviews, this is for you.