By Dennis Harvey
Variety, February 24, 2002
A Kingman Films Intl. and Day for Night Pictures production. Produced by Garin Armenian, Joseph Perez. Executive producer, Jane Messler. Directed, written by Joseph Perez.

With: Jake Wall, Ben Murphy, Lee Corbin, Angela Harry, Frayne Rosanoff, Francoise Surel.
A middling mockumentary that's neither very convincing nor comically inspired, writer-director Joseph Perez's debut feature "To Protect and Serve" directs mild humor at a far from mild (if overfamiliar) subject: The daily lives of Los Angeles Police Dept. officers. Hardly bold or original enough to tempt theatrical exposure, modest indie effort will be most at home as a cable and cassette item.

Focus is on two square-jawed beat cops, 20-year veteran Ron Friendly (Ben Murphy) and younger John Holloway (Lee Corbin). Former is a by-the-book hard-liner who nonetheless becomes inappropriately attentive to a street prostitute (Angela Harry), despite having a high-strung wife. The hulking Holloway is a contrasting, incongruous softie who's started the "Hugs for Thugs" program (matching lonely seniors with needy prison inmates). When latter briefly suffers a nervous breakdown, pic tries out another cop subject in vainglorious stud Officer Chico Blades (Frayne Rosanoff), who's a little too camera-ready for his own good. Situations are more silly than hilarious; major error lies in giving much screen time to ostensible documentarian Jake (Jake Wall), whose wiseacre attitude further weakens unconvincing stabs at faux-verite realism. Perfs are OK, tech package adequate.

Camera (color), Chris Manley; editor, Danny Saphire; production designer, Tommy Estridge. Reviewed at San Francisco IndieFest, Feb. 3, 2002. Running time: 85 MIN.

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