Film Reviews

CELLULAR

By • Sep 10th, 2004 •

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PG-13 / 92 minutes

QUOTE: Incredibly stupid.

High school science teacher Jessica (Kim Basinger) blissfully drops her son off at his school bus and returns to her regal home. Suddenly two thugs break in and kill her maid and kidnap her. Jessica is taken to a farmhouse and left in the attic. Jessica is able to get the smashed phone working and, somehow, manages to call Santa Monica Pier beach bum Ryan (Chris Evans) on his cell phone. Instead of giving Ryan the address where police can find her dead maid, or even giving him her husband’s cell phone number, she twiddles away his precious cell phone minutes sweet-talking him into helping her.

Chief thug Ethan (Jason Statham) demands Jessica tell him where “it” is. She doesn’t know but it does involve her husband having something these vicious thugs want. Apparently, he has been keeping a secret from Jessica that has not only endangered her life but their son’s. Ryan hears Ethan beating up Jessica and decides he must help her. Going to a police station proves fruitless since desk Sgt. Bob Mooney (William H. Macy) is more concerned with his spa business than hearing that Jessica has been kidnapped and her maid has been killed. He does jot down her name.

Ryan hears the thugs tell Jessica they are off to pick up her son. Instead of staying put in the police station – the police station is deserted – Ryan goes off himself to the boy’s school to circumvent the thugs! He sees no police cars in L.A. En-route to the school his cell phone battery starts losing power.

Throughout this day-long ordeal – the run to the school, the traffic crashes, the carjacking, and the gun waving – Jessica stays on the phone piloting Ryan’s maneuvers.

The problem with movies like this is each audience member judges the characters’ actions. If they are dumb or implausible, you lose the audience cheer and goodwill. We want to see clever, realistic solutions we can use when we are kidnapped by thugs.

Basinger’s damsel-in-distress acting was frustrating. And the ending, with Basinger’s shirt opened another button, was cringe-worthy. Evans, in his first starring role, handled all the ranges of emotion his character undergoes, but still needs a good script.


Cast:
Jessica Martin: Kim Basinger
Ryan: Chris Evans
Ethan: Jason Statham
Chad: Eric Christian Olsen
Jack: Noah Emmerich
Sgt. Bob Mooney: William H. Macy

Credits:
Director: David R. Ellis
Screenwriter: Chris Morgan
Story by: Larry Cohen
Producers: Dean Devlin, Lauren Lloyd
Executive producers: Douglas Curtis, Toby Emmerich, Richard Brener, Keith Goldberg
Director of photography: Gary Capo
Production designer: Jaymes Hinkle
Music: John Ottman
Co-producer: Marc Roskin
Costume designer: Christopher Lawrence
Editor: Eric Sears

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