Add another one to the scrap heap of trendy, nostalgic, 60’s and 70’s TV shows reduced to cinematic rubble by the inspiration starved minds in Hollywood. Aarron Spelling’s TV series so adeptly tapped into the rebellious anxiety, far-out lingo and antiestablishment garb of the time, but here, the filmmakers seem content to just regurgitate the scene, leaving the potentially ripe, decade straddling, cop drama, disjointed and grating. A large part of the film’s brutish offenses don’t come from the fact that the trio of punks rehabilitated into an undercover police unit are surrealistically saddled with 70s speak in a 90s world, or that they cruise the streets of LA in classic, gas guzzling boats — while everyone else drives a Japanese compact — but from the postured character malaise, inane dialogue and a muddled plot that has something to do with dirty cops, a cache of drugs and a frame up.
Of the three main players, the electric Giovanni Ribisi and Omar Epps get their moments to shine. Unfortunately the adorable and talented actress, Claire Danes, whose punky caricature is lifted from Bridget Fonda in “Point of No Return,” is left to intone “f–k” every now and then, and strut around in fashionable, hip hugging outfits that don’t really seem to suit her. Miss Danes’ future is not as a sex symbol and “The Mod Squad” is anything but mod.