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Beeper
DVD disk
Jan 20, 2006 By: Jason Coleman
Beeper order
Director:
Jack Sholder

Actors:
Ed Quinn
Joey Lauren Adams
Harvey Keitel

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A doctor, attending a convention in India, finds that his son had been kidnapped for ransom. He enlists the police and then a well connected drug dealer in a 24 hour race to get his boy back alive.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
The premise of this film is not exactly the most original (RANSOM or MISSING, anyone?!) and neither is the direction. Jack Sholder, the man in charge of this lifeless movie (if you can call it that!), is best remembered by this critic as the man behind the audacious and brilliant 1987 film THE HIDDEN. (Definitely in the top 20 of my all time favorite films!) Oh, what a difference 20 years makes. Jack showed such great potential as a director Ė his car chases were top notch, his action driven, and his filmmaking skills were a force to be reckoned with. BEEPER is like the anti-HIDDEN; itís a train wreck of a film. The story is flat, the staging is slow, and the film, if you were to check its pulse, is faint at best. First itís a ransom film, then a buddy/buddy send up, then a bad film noir, none of which serve the story and leave us feeling like weíve watched the shell of something. (And why set the film in India and cast mostly white American actors!)

All the actors carry the term grade-B to a whole new level. Ed Quinn, kind of a poor manís Christian Bale, is badly in need of some acting lessons as the grief stricken father of the kidnapped boy. (During some emotionally dramatic scenes he even smiles!) And what in the name of all that is holy is a gifted actor like Harvey Keitel doing in a flick this bad? Is he really that desperate for a paycheck, or was the arc of his character (a drug dealer who turns out to have a good side!) that great and I just missed it? In any case, any film that casts CHASING AMY lead Joey Lauren Adams as a member of an Anti-Terrorist Unit is in desperate need of a casting director who is not totally out of their mind. (It's probably the same one that cast Tara Reid as an anthropologist in ALONE IN THE DARK!) Granted this film was made back in 2002, but werenít beepers out of date even back then? Who cares. This is a film that deserves everything it gets, namely total obscurity. I had never heard of this film and still wish I hadnít. Forget vibrate mode, turn this BEEPER off and throw it in the goddamn garbage.
THE EXTRAS
No extras here and itís the first decent thing the makers of this sad excuse for a flick have done. It does feature a Trailer Gallery with BEEPER, SOUTHERN JUSTICE, THE CHOKE and DALLAS 362, but thatís all folks!

(Although I must say that even though I hated this flick, I still wouldíve listened to a Jack Shoulder commentary. His track on THE HIDDEN, where he revealed what it was really like to work with star Michael Nouri, are some of the most brutal and honest words ever to come out of a commentary. What would he have said about a raspberry of a flick like this one?!)
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
When movies go bad, who do we blame? The director? The actors? Or the unoriginal bastards who write this lowlife trite? Beeper doesnít take sides and everyone here is to blame. Much like the war between the beeper and the cell phone, thereís bad vibes all around.
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