Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Harrison Ford, Ashley Judd, Ray Liotta, Jim Sturgess, Cliff Curtis, Alice Braga, Alice Eve, Jaysha Patel, Summer Bishil, Jacqueline Obradors, Justin Chon, Melody Khazae, Merik Tadros, Marshall Manesh, Nina Nayebi
Written by: Wayne Kramer
Directed by: Wayne Kramer
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, some strong violence and sexuality/nudity
Running Time: 113
Date: 02/26/2009
IMDB

Crossing Over (2009)

1 Star (out of 4)

Borderline Bad

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Paul Haggis' Crash has a lot of fans and detractors, but regardless of what you think of it, this carbon copy -- focusing in immigration rather than racism -- is decidedly worse.

Wayne Kramer's Crossing Over introduces a handful of different characters living in Los Angeles, and each of them more or less defined by their immigration status rather than anything human. Harrison Ford is a weary, soft-hearted ICE agent involved in the case of a Mexican woman (Alice Braga); Ashley Judd is an immigration attorney working on finding a foster home for a young Nigerian girl; Ray Liotta is a sleazy INS official who sleeping with a gorgeous Australian girl (Alice Eve) so she can legally work as an actress; Jim Sturgess is a singer and an atheist who uses his Jewish heritage to pass as a religious scholar; Summer Bishil is Bangladeshi teenager who gives a high school paper defending the motives of the 9/11 terrorists and attracts attention to her family; Cliff Curtis is Ford's partner, and a member of a strict Iranian family with skeletons in its closet. And Justin Chon is a Korean teenager who thinks that gang life is the best way to go.

The plotlines are filled with coincidence and other stretches of logic. Characters are stretched thin with only the most overstuffed dialogue to express themselves. As a result, the film is airless and petrified. Crossing Over seems all the more calculated when you compare Kramer's last film, the cruel and inept action film Running Scared (2006), to this supposed "humanitarian" effort. Only Ford snatches a few breaths of fresh air with his aching performance as a man working a sad, tired job. Every so often he just lets out a sigh that says more than any of Kramer's dialogue ever could.

DVD Details: The Weinstein Company limped this dud out on DVD with no extras: only optional English and Spanish subtitles. You can tell it's bad because of the blurb on the front, from idiot TV "critic" Ben Mankiewicz: "An exceptional film!" The word "exceptional" suggests that it's an exception, that there's no other film like it. Except for Crash, I guess. The other blurb on the back cover comes from the equally idiotic Jeffrey Lyons. The Blu-Ray followed in 2010.

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