Although crime novelist James Ellroy's reputation got a boost from the brilliant film adaptation of his L.A. Confidential
, this neo-noir exercise won't do much to burnish it. Groggily narrated by the protagonist, cop-turned-private eye Fritz Brown, the film suffers from a wavering tone and a miscalculated decision to let the story's shaggy dog aspects override its mystery elements. Former cop Brown (Michael Rooker) thinks of his detective agency as an easy way to augment his earnings as a repo man. Though he quit the force to avoid the Los Angeles cesspool, he steps right back into the criminal muck after accepting a surveillance assignment from Fat Dog (Will...