Remember Crash, the blunt Oscar-winning film about racism? The one with lots of intertwined stories? The makers of Crossing Over sure do — but it's not a happy memory.
No, Crossing Over will make you weep, and not for the reasons its makers intended. This heavy-handed, fake-serious film offers crass manipulation in the spot where honesty is supposed to be.
Director Wayne Kramer would seem to be convinced that his film has got something to say about the problems of immigration, but in fact Crossing Over just uses that issue as an excuse to put thuggish violence, lecherous nudity and crude profanity on screen.
Harrison Ford is the movie's biggest star; he plays a lonely agent for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, about to lead a raid on a Los Angeles factory.
This raid ends up causing nothing but problems for Ford's character, which is about par for the course for this film. Other people in deep trouble include a Bangladeshi student who makes a passionate classroom plea for understanding for the Sept. 11 bombers, a Korean boy who hangs with local gang-bangers and an aspiring Australian actress who'll do anything to get a green card. As my mother used to say, no good will come of this.
Crossing Over sounds more promising than it turns out to be, mostly because of the involvement of name actors like Ford, Ashley Judd and Ray Liotta. Maybe those performers were seduced by the possibility of being in a film that said something worthwhile about an important national issue.
Crossing Over is nowhere near that film. It thinks it's about immigration, but in reality it's a ripped-from-the-headlines exploitation film of the most shameless sort.