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Paranoia movie review: Cell phone psychosis

Shanee is a screenwriter and educator living in Los Angeles. She created the web series She Blinded Me w Science to encourage young girls to explore science and technology. You can also read her blog where she chronicles her filmmaking ...

Can you hear me now?

The unbelievably hot Liam Hemsworth plays a bridge-and-tunnel techie full of ambition to succeed in the highly competitive world of communications systems in Manhattan. But does this battle of the better cell phone really make for a compelling thriller?

movie bannerParanoia

2 Stars: Perfect for lovers of Liam Hemsworth's bod

Twenty-something Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) comes from a working class family but dreams of being part of the 1 percent. Adam has ambition, baby, and is stunned when he gets fired from his job working for tech mogul Nicolas Wyatt (Gary Oldman). This set-back inspires Adam to take his former co-workers out for a $16,000 night on the town — all on Wyatt’s dime.

Wyatt finds out, of course, and forces Adam to go work for Wyatt's competitor and former business partner, Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford). The plan is for Adam to steal Goddard's latest top secret cell phone. Given a confidence makeover by Wyatt’s assistant Judith (Embeth Davidtz), Adam is groomed to become Wyatt’s protégé.

INTERVIEW: Amber Heard on Paranoia, privacy and judgements >>

Paranoia

There’s only one bug in the computer system — Adam falls in love with Goddard’s pretty, young head of marketing, Emma (Amber Heard), a Princeton grad who spends her weekends in the Hamptons. Adam feels guilty lying to her but still steals files off her computer and even steals her fingerprints to use to gain access to the so-called Holy Grail of cell phones.

The problem with the movie as a thriller is that there’s very little suspense and none of the characters ever seem in mortal danger. Sure, there are a few plot twists, but trying to make the audience care about a man who infiltrates a company to steal not-so-cutting-edge cell phone technology proves too difficult for these filmmakers.

Cell phone technology changes weekly, so it's difficult to believe stealing Goddard's coveted gadget would make much of a difference in anybody's life, and makes for a weak film premise.

INTERVIEW: Harrison Ford on Paranoia and social media >>

Paranoia

Hemsworth makes great eye-candy and we get to see him in a towel, but there are no real action sequences or James-Bond-shenanigans to show off his other talents. Gary Oldman disappoints as Wyatt who, instead of being a sly mastermind, is just too much of a bozo to be a compelling villain. Oldman is far too great an actor to be wasting his time playing this moustache-twirling, one-dimensional baddie.

Harrison Ford rocks a shaved head for some unknown reason, making me wonder if he’s had a recent bout of cancer (we hope Ford is healthy and has a long, fruitful career). If these two supposed tech moguls are supposed to share a rivalry similar to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, why not give Goddard a rebellious, long-haired look? Even the name Goddard to too obvious if you want to imply he’s got a god-complex.

Bottom line: Liam Hemsworth is hot. That’s about it.

Paranoia trailer, cast and more >>

Photo credit: Relativity Media
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