Bomb Rating: 

This movie seemed a lot like "Magnolia" only not as long.

Whenever a filmmaker in Hollywood determines that he has something really important to say, it's time for the rest of us to duck, get out of the way, or simply steer clear of the theater entirely. Subtlety is not a quality that Hollywood admires, so whenever a film like "Crash" comes out, which deals with racism in modern America, you can expect to get beaten over the head like an obstinate Iraqi during an Abu Ghraib interrogation.

In addition to the heavy moralizing, we're also bombarded with the coincidence machine that is mainstream movie plotting. Writer/director Paul Haggis's story (he wrote "Million Dollar Baby") doesn't include anyone without some kind of racial quandary. It's focused, but it's also the type of film that's exhausting, and not in a good way. And let's also remember that Paul Haggis is white. That's not to say white people can't have an opinion about racism in America, but it's one thing to think about racism and another thing to experience it, and frankly, people in the latter category are a little more qualified to make an entire movie about it.

All the characters in this film have some kind of hang-up with people not of their ethnicity. Jean (Sandra Bullock) berates the help, but also her husband, Rick (Brendan Fraser), who's the D.A. Rick is a knee-jerk liberal and political opportunist, and a case involving a shooting gives him the perfect opportunity to prosecute a white cop for shooting a black cop even though evidence suggests there's more to it than simply racism. This is something Graham (Don Cheadle) is trying to explain to the D.A.'s assistant, Flanagan (William Fichtner), and we think Graham might have it together until he insults his girlfriend, Ria (Jennifer Esposito). The most obviously racist guy in the whole movie is Officer Ryan (Matt Dillon). He gives a couple, Cameron (Terrence Howard) and Christine (Thandie Newton) a bad time in front of his partner, Officer Hanson (Ryan Phillippe). Afterward, Christine berates Cameron for essentially not being black enough.

Hell, I'm exhausted just writing that last paragraph and I've left out all kinds of stuff. Generally, a film that's not easy to explain isn't easy to watch either. That's the case with "Crash."

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