The Zero Effect

Bomb Rating: 

Although Hollywood's decision makers may not know talent when they see it, they stick to nepotism like flies to shit.

If you were just a normal person and had written "The Zero Effect" and sent it to every studio and every agent and every person in the world who had anything to do with film -- even those poor souls who empty the waste out of the star's trailers -- and then waited for a response to your masterwork, you would wait an amount of time (X) determined by the formula: X = 2B + 1, where B is an amount of time equal to "when hell freezes over."

But if you're Jake Kasdan, you don't wait at all because daddy is Lawrence Kasdan and little Hollywood weasels are lined up like prostitutes just waiting to lick the sweat off your testicles. Although Hollywood's decision makers may not know talent when they see it, they stick to nepotism like flies to shit.

This film is a mass of static head shots: people talking in a room, people talking in a car, people talking in a restaurant. The people who are talking are usually Daryl Zero (Bill Pullman), the world's most private detective, and his front man, Steve Arlo (Ben Stiller). Daryl, while being a good detective, can't function in the real world so he has Steve conduct his business for him.

Nothing much happens in this film. Instead, people talk a lot about the potential for something to happen. Somehow we're supposed to be interested as Daryl works on a case involving a Portland timber tycoon, Gregory Stark (Ryan O'Neal), and falls in love with a paramedic (Kim Dickens). Unfortunately, that's all talk too. Maybe Jake ought to try writing about subjects he can really illuminate for the general public, like favoritism, patronage and the benefits of having a rich, powerful Hollywood daddy.

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