I don’t know what this movie’s tagline was, but it should have been “The 1% has better smart phones than you.”
The director of ‘Legally Blonde’ presents ‘Paranoia’: Yet another movie that teeters more along the lines of a romantic Blah-blah instead of a blah-blah thriller.
The story follows Liam Hemsworth as Adam Cassidy, who the movie attempts to sell to us as a regular guy with a regular job. But, to the creators of this movie, “regular guy” means as ridiculously buff as a disconnected son of Odin and equally as perfect hair, but is a complete social outcast because he dresses like a hipster, and happens to be a genius at revolutionizing mobile phone technology working in the heart of Manhattan. Yeah. Regular guy. Okay.
At the least, his friends seem more believable than the way they tried to pitch Hemsworth, the most prominent of whom seemed to be his friend Kevin (Lucas Till), the best friend character to remind the audience in case it wasn’t clear enough that his main character best friend is being a selfish jackass and not actually doing the right thing.
Adam’s motivations in the film are pretty solid initially. He holds grudges about not having enough money, as his mom died while he was so young and currently has to pay for all of the bills of his sickly horn dog dad (Richard Dreyfuss. What happened to you Hooper?), so of course a guy growing up while constantly thinking about not having enough money is… drum roll, wanting to live like “the other half.”
Yes, people. This is one of those movies. A young “normal guy” is taken under the wing of the sleazy executive of a company (Gary Oldman), asks “normal guy” to pretend he is just as rich as said executive so he can sneak the kid into the top position of a competitor’s company that is the only one more valued than his own to steal trade secrets. The “trade” being smart phones.
Of course, when given this offer, he has to choose between either it or jail. Because, despite the fact that he had his father to take care of, Adam thinks it’s a grand idea to smart mouth his boss in a presentation, get himself and his friend’s fired and use the company credit card to go to the most expensive bar and go through, like, seven bottles of the most expensive vodka ever, resulting in club glaring with a gorgeous girl (Amber Heard) and ends up out of her apartment in less time it took for him to wake up. Surely, Gary Oldman’s “informants” would know if Adam had met this girl before and actually warn him that she is the marketing executive for the competitor’s company. SURELY, they would have taught Adam more about espionage tactics than bullshitting and fitting into nice clothes.
I’m starting to think that these spies just watched a lot of James Bond movies. Sorry, did I say spies? I meant screenwriters. Aside from one barely believable scene in a midnight heist through Harrison Ford’s office building, the most “Thrilling” parts of this thriller is watching Adam essentially copy and past things to thumb drives.
The movie is interesting in concept, as I’m sure the novel it is based on had more intent than just being caught in the middle of two millionaires killing people over trying to steal each other’s ideas, but in this film, it just all comes across as… tired. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before. All the character’s actions are predictable, and therefore all the twists and turns are able to be telegraphed from miles away. Especially since most of the trailers for the movie are from the last 40 minutes of the film. And it’s uninteresting to watch because it’s clear that with this technology these people use through the film, everyone knows everything about everybody else, which really dilutes any tension that could be found in the story.
The movie was shot, at least, in a sleek, interesting way, but muddled by hectic editing in attempt to make things appear more exciting. Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford waltz through with minimal effort to get another paycheck and Liam Hemsworth proves with flying colors that he’s just as sexy as his older brother. I literally had to shout at the screen, “Okay! We get it! He’s hot!” And that shout out was not out of jealously mind you (okay, maybe a little), it was so over embellished by the cinematography that it was distracting. That being said, the ladies in the audience were enjoying that part.
Mad Men’s Embeth Davidtz provides a supporting role that only delivers a predictable twist and and excuse to give cut and past exposition with a british voice. And poor Julian McMahon (Charmed) in his black on black suits and a ridiculously big gun plays a hit man while hamming up his role so much that it distracts from everything else going on.
I can commend ‘Paranoia’ for trying to deliver some quick fun (the movie is about an hour and 40 minutes; short for movies in 2013, sadly) but whatever original idea that was in there is lost in making it a rather anticlimactic version of something we’ve seen before, much like last year with Bradley Cooper in Limitless. The movie tries to cover it up with contemporary ideas (i.e., Facebook jokes) to revamp the tried and true “Big Brother” scheme, but they’ll be lost into a void of gibberish if you’re not the kind of person that follows marketing and social media.
If you’re looking for a short, mindless date movie about old men scheming and beautiful people swooning, give it a go. But I’d recommend doing it on Netflix or Redbox.
RATING: ★★★(3/10 stars)