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Cellular (2004)
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Review Date: September 07, 2004
Director: David R. Ellis
Writer: Chris Morgan
Producers: Dean Devlin, Lauren Lloyd
Actors:
Chris Evans
Kim Basinger
Jason Statham
Plot:
A woman kidnapped by strangers, manages to "McGyver" her way through a broken phone in the attic and get a hold of a kid on a cell phone, who thinks he's being punk'd by one of his buddies. But it doesn't take long for the dude to figure things out and come to realize that he may be the hysterical woman's only chance of survival. Help her, Obi-Wan Kenobi...you're her only hope.
Critique:
A fun, old school thriller that moves a mile a minute, offers plenty of nail-biting moments, appealing actors seemingly enjoying themselves, but not without going a little too over-the-top in certain sequences, particularly the ending, which asks one to stretch their suspension of disbelief a little more than one usually might in a film of its sort. That said, the film did grasp me within its fervor from its opening bang all the way through to its hordes of beach babe bikini shots, Jason Statham acting like the badass that only a badass like the badass that he is would act, and Kim Basinger's unexpectedly compelling performance as a frantic woman caught in the middle of some seriously effed up shit. I know you're not really supposed to consider acting performances in movies like this, but all I kept thinking through most of her jarring, and surprisingly violent, scenes was how much of a trooper she was, and how she really managed to maintain that true sense of hysteria throughout. Great show! Chris Evans also came through as the goofy beach bum, whose lazy demeanor suddenly gets turned upside down when he receives a call that changes his day (and probably, life) completely. The film also included a handful of lighter moments, many of which featured the great William H. Macy and his bushy mustache, as well as a cute "Ricky Martin" joke, which appealed to me. As for the preposterousness of the storyline, well...just read the opening paragraph to my PAPARAZZI review for my take on that, but overall, I thought the film held together pretty well, considering what type of movie it is, but did eventually start to lose me when the hero's resourcefulness went way past the basics and into the "how the hell could a schmuck like that, do that?" zone.

The film's bad guys were also pretty one dimensional and once displayed in all of their glory, a little too boneheaded from their given backgrounds. In fact, once everything is said and done, you'll wonder why they didn't partake in a zillion other ways to get to what they were trying to get to, instead of the whole "kidnapping" thing, but then I guess we wouldn't have much of a movie then, would we? And who knew that being a high school biology teacher would ever come in handy, eh? Some of the New Line regulars also show up, including exec Toby Emmerich's brother Noah, who I'll always fondly remember as Mo from the superb BEAUTIFUL GIRLS, and speaking of beautiful girls...the very lovely Jessica Biel in a small part playing a hot girl who's...well, looking hot, as only a hot girl like she could (even producer Dean Devlin has a cameo as a taxi driver). Given director David R. Ellis' background in stunts, it's also to note that the film includes plenty of crashes, punches and car chase scenarios, but nothing that blew my testicles off, a la the "highway scene" from FINAL DESTINATION 2. Oh, another small but cool bit in the film features the ultimate L.A. yuppie-asshole lawyer, who is cast as perfectly as they come...nice! (also a neat way to get a Porsche into the movie) So to recap...the film isn't the tightest one in the world when it comes to its plot mechanics, but I really enjoyed myself as I watched, got into the whole "what the hell would I do in that situation?" of the protagonist (a la PHONE BOOTH...the same guy who wrote that movie came up with the "story" for this one) and was more than a little taken by all of its actors, including the wholesome Evans, the powerful Basinger, the goofy Macy and the badass Statham. Don't take it all too seriously and have a good time...
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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