Film review: Bad Boys

Published: Thursday, April 20 1995 12:00 a.m. MDT

"Bad Boys" is a vehicle for TV stars Will Smith ("The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air") and Martin Lawrence ("Martin"), apparently to show off their action-hero sides. Smith comes off pretty well, but Lawrence does so much shtick that he's never really believable as a character — and the film is so violent and vulgar that it's a relief when it finally wraps up.

Smith is a swinging bachelor, the product of a wealthy family who has seen too many episodes of "Miami Vice." (Which is apparently acceptable since the film is set in Miami.) And Lawrence is a family man who has had to eke out a living and who looks at life as one big joke.

The ridiculous plot has them switching roles to pacify a murder witness (Tea Leoni), which ties into their investigation of a huge drug heist from the police station's evidence room. The witness thinks Lawrence is Smith, so Smith has to pretend to be Lawrence. They even go so far as to trade living arrangements — Smith moves in with Lawrence's wife and children.

On film it's not really all that confusing — but it certainly is idiotic. What is confusing is the decision by first-time director Michael Bay to film the action as if he's still making his award-winning commercials and music videos. The entire film is filled with headache-inducing closeups, chaotic camera moves and quick edits.

"Bad Boys" is rated R for considerable violence, profanity and vulgarity.

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