LAPD Sergeant Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford) is a financially strapped Hollywood homicide detective who began moonlighting as a real estate broker seven years ago. His partner is Detective K. C. Calden (Josh Hartnett), a much younger officer who teaches yoga on the side and wants to be an actor. The duo are assigned to investigate the murders of four men, members of a rap group called H2OClick who were gunned down in a nightclub by two unidentified assailants. The detectives discover there was a witness in the nightclub who escaped unnoticed, and they work together to track him down. In the midst of it all, Gavilan has to deal with a looming real estate deal that may be the key to getting out of debt, while Calden further pursues his dreams of acting by trying to be scouted by talent agents.
Unknown to the two detectives, Antoine Sartain (Isaiah Washington), the manager and producer of H2OClick, has his head of security eliminate the two hitmen they had hired to carry out these murders and the murder of Klepto, a rapper whom Sartain also managed and produced, whose case is still open. Initially, Gavilan and Calden had believed the murders were gang-related, but Calden later sees the bodies of the hitmen at the morgue and puts two-and-two together to conclude that the murders were being orchestrated by someone else. The detectives also notice some eerie similarities between the H2OClick and Klepto homicides and figure that the two cases are connected. Gavilan learns from an undercover officer posing as a prostitute that the songwriter for H2OClick, a man named K-Roc, had suddenly gone missing; and Gavilan believes he is the murder witness they had been tracking. However, it proves difficult to track down K-Roc when they cannot determine his real name, but it is later discovered that K-Roc is Oliver Robideaux, the son of Olivia Robideaux (Gladys Knight), a former Motown singer.
Meanwhile, the arrival of Lieutenant Bernard "Bennie" Macko (Bruce Greenwood) at headquarters unnerves Gavilan—both have had a bad history with one another ever since Gavilan proved him wrong on a case years ago. It also turns out that Gavilan's love interest, a psychic named Ruby (Lena Olin), used to date him. Macko is intent on taking away Gavilan's badge, going so far as to try to frame him and place both detectives in interrogation. After they are released, Gavilan and Calden seem to have formed a closer bond, and Gavilan offers to help the latter when he reveals that his father Danny Calden who had also been a cop had been mysteriously gunned down during a sting operation gone wrong. His partner at the time, Leroy Wasley, was implicated in the murder, but later released on lack of evidence.
Gavilan and Calden continue the investigation—they track down K-Roc to his home, where Olivia Robideaux professes her son's innocence and that Antoine Sartain, the manager of the group, was the real culprit. Sartain had been embezzling money from both Klepto and the members of H2OClick for years, and when they later found out, they threatened to hire lawyers to nullify their contracts. Enraged, Sartain had ordered the murders that were later carried out by the hitmen as a "lesson" to all the other members under his record label. It also turns out that Sartain's head of security is none other than Leroy Wasley, and that Macko is also in league with him as well.
They prepare to arrest Sartain and Wasley, but can't seem to find their location. Desperate, Gavilan enlists the help of Ruby, who, after a brief meditating session, leads the two detectives to a clothing store. Just then, Sartain and Wasley happened to drive by the store, and Gavilan and Calden follow suit in a wild car chase that leads them through the streets of Los Angeles, that later separates and pits them against Sartain and Wasley, respectively. While struggling against Sartain, Gavilan manages to overthrow him, and Sartain winds up falling from the top of a building to his death in a dumpster. Meanwhile, Wasley has a gun drawn on Calden and admits to killing his father. But Calden utilizes his acting skills to distract Wasley just as he is about the pull the trigger, incapacitates him, reveals he had a tape recorder on the whole time (capturing Wasley bragging about having murdered his father), and arrests him. Gavilan and Calden reunite as LAPD officers swarm the scene in the background, but Macko appears and calls for the arrests of the two officers. However, Macko winds up being the one led away in handcuffs for his affiliations with Sartain and covering up Wasley's corruption.
The next scene shows Gavilan and Ruby (wearing the dress she bought at the clothing store) attending a production of A Streetcar Named Desire, in which Calden was playing a lead role. It is implied that Gavilan successfully brokered the real estate deal, and Calden is giving his all in the pursuit of his acting dream. However, both of them receive calls from police headquarters and leave in the middle of the play. In the end, Gavilan and Calden are both heard ordering cheeseburgers, saying it would be "a long night".Harrison Ford as Detective-Sergeant Joseph "Joe" Gavilan
Josh Hartnett as Detective K. C. Calden
Lena Olin as Ruby
Bruce Greenwood as Lieutenant Bernard "Bennie" Macko
Isaiah Washington as Antoine Sartain
Lolita Davidovich as Cleo Ricard
Keith David as Leon
Master P as Julius Armas
Gladys Knight as Olivia Robidoux
Lou Diamond Phillips as Wanda
Meredith Scott Lynn as Det. Jackson
Tom Todoroff as Det. Zino
James MacDonald as Danny Broome
Kurupt as Oliver "K-Ro" Robidoux
Eric Idle as the Celebrity
André Benjamin as Silk Brown
Dwight Yoakam as Leroy Wasley
Martin Landau as Jerry Duran
Jennette McCurdy as the Van Family daughter
Eloy Casados as Detective Eddie Cruz
Frank Sinatra, Jr. as Marty Wheeler
Robert Wagner as Himself
Smokey Robinson as Cabbie
The roles of Gavilan and Calden were previously given to John Travolta and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, respectively, before Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett eventually signed on.
Throughout filming, Ford and Hartnett reportedly did not get along. Things apparently got so tense that the two wouldn't look each other in the eye when they're sharing scenes together with Ford calling Hartnett a "punk" while Hartnett responded by calling Ford an "old fart". They reportedly carried over the feud into the promotional tour for the film.
The film was not received well by critics. On the film review website Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 30% approval rating based on 155 critics' reviews. One of the few major critics to give it a positive notice was Roger Ebert, who awarded the film 3 out of 4 stars.
The film did not perform well at the box office as it ended up losing its $75 million budget. It opened at #5 and grossed $11,112,632 in the opening weekend, where it was led by Finding Nemo, which was in first place in its third weekend. The film wrapped up its box office run after 12 weeks, grossing $30,940,691 in Canada and the United States and $20,201,968 in other markets for a worldwide total of $51,142,659.
The film was released on VHS and DVD October 7, 2003. The DVD edition included a director's commentary and a theatrical trailer. In 2013, Mill Creek Entertainment released the film for the first time on Blu-ray in a 2 pack set with Hudson Hawk, without any extra features.