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The Alternate Universe ‘Bad Boys’

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Spend $19 million, get $141 million. That’s not just the goal, that’s the dream. Everyone wanted to make money on Bad Boys in 1995, but even mega-producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer had no idea they were going to rake in as much cash as they did. They were too caught up in their Disney production of Crimson Tide, leaving their upstart director and his TV cast pretty much to their own devices as long as they kept the budget tight.

Bad Boys is a simple flick that thrives on base thrills elevated by flash, sex, and charm. The film propelled one lead into the stratosphere of stardom and nearly did the same for the other (Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son is just one Big Momma too many). Michael Bay unfurled himself upon Hollywood, and it has never been the same since. For better and a whole helluva lot worse. Thank god he seems done with those trash fire Transformers sequels, and he’s contained within Netflix where his most wretched instincts are free to roam wild, and we can enjoy them safely and solitarily behind closed doors.

AND YET! There is a universe in which Bad Boys never was. In this bizarro realm, Simpson and Bruckheimer solidified their Micky Mouse deal with a one-two punch of Days of Thunder and another buddy cop flick called Bulletproof Hearts, minus a Bueva Vista Pictures detour with indie darling The Ref in the middle.

In the early ’90s, Simpson and Bruckheimer were feeling fairly low. Their Paramount Pictures deal that had produced action........

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