Haven't we been here before? The inbred mutant offspring of Crash and Babel, writer-director Wayne Kramer's Crossing Over treats the subject of illegal immigrants coming to (and from) Los Angeles with the same vulgarity he brought to his 2006 children-in-peril thriller Running Scared, this time (barely) concealed under a paper-thin plaster of Oscar-worthy self-importance. Like the fictional New Jersey town that served as the backdrop for Kramer's previous film, Angel City is, for the filmmaker, yet another disenchanted urban forest filled with innocent maidens (Alice Eve as an Australian actress trying to make it in Hollywood), big bad wolves (Ray Liotta as the INS honcho who offers the Aussie a green card in exchange for daily buttfucking privileges), and world-weary armored knights (Harrison Ford as the Immigration and Customs agent who never met a pretty illegal he didn't want to save). There's not a cultural stereotype that Kramer can't repurpose: For most of Crossing Over, Ford's Iranian partner (played in a triumph of affirmative-action casting by New Zealander Cliff Curtis) glowers so contemptuously at his cleavage-baring sister that when the girl turns up with a bullet in her head, the only surprise is that the movie thinks it's a mystery. Eventually all points converge on a finale draped in patriotic imagery employed for maximum irony, as Kramer haphazardly cross-cuts between a naturalization ceremony and a deportation—not exactly The Godfather's baptism by gunfire, in case you had any doubts.
Indiana Jones meets Crash.
Opens at area theaters, Fri., March 13. Rated R. 113 minutes.