Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Film Cemetery

Case Study #19

Where we explore the more 

obscure movies that bombed

Cars are driven! Phones are talked 
on! Kim Basinger tears a stocking!

Dean Devlin has bitten my ass more than once.

You see, Cellular isn't a horrible move....just a very good example of lazy screenwriting.

I bought this movie back in 2004, just like I did when Flyboys was released, because of the producer....who has burned me twice now on a $20 DVD.

Dean Devlin won me over with Independence Day, Godzilla and The Patriot. Unfortunately, that was the end of his run - but I didn't know it back then. 

Devlin came back fighting with Cellular, a movie that positively reeks of the stench filmmakers give off when they've run out of ideas.

You handsome man, you

Still, it was a springboard for Chris Evans, who was cast for Fantastic Four soon afterwards. It's also the first time Jason Statham plays a baddie, and does so quite well.

Cellular completely wastes William H. Macy, and features Kim Basinger as an annoying woman in a rather complicated situation. 

I don't have anything against Basinger, but she did take a look at a small town in Georgia....and bought it. Bought a town. As you can expect, that didn't work out to well and Basinger lost 20 million.

So her decision-making skills are questionable, to say the least.

On to the film....

Basinger plays Jessica Martin, a suburban biology teacher that is kidnapped as the movies opens. 

She, like the audience, has no idea why a bunch of rough men led by Jason Statham want to harm her...or what they want.

Statham's character is a rogue cop named Ethan Greer. He takes her to his safe house and locks Basinger up in the attic, smashing the wall phone to keep her from communicating with the outside world.

But Basinger is a resourceful science teacher, and wires the smashed phone back together.

The problem? The phone can only connect with whatever random number it chooses. Yeah, I didn't really buy that one either. 

Statham comes back and tells Basinger if he doesn't get what he wants, he's going to do terrible things to her young son. 

Once alone, Basinger tries out her new piecemeal telephone.

Spoiler alert: Phones are talked on...a lot

By happenstance, Basinger gets a hold of the most handsome man in California...Chris Evans.

She explains her tenuous problem to Evans, three or four brain cells fire off in his head - and he's in!

Evans' character - Ryan - is supposed to be a brain-dead surfer type. Fortunately for us, Evans is an extremely likable guy and a competent actor. 

He single-handedly saves Cellular from being a total bomb, him and him alone. Statham makes a superb bad guy, but seems out of place here.

We get lots of chases in various vehicles as Evans stays on the phone with Basinger, running around LA trying to help her. 

It turns out the baddies want a video camera with incriminating evidence on it. Seems Basinger's husband caught Statham and his buddies doing something naughty.

A video tape? Really, screenwriter douchenozzles? What? Are we living in 1981?

And this is where I stop telling you the plot and we talk about why this film flew completely under the radar. 

Like I said. Phones are talked on...a lot

There was simply no way to make this movie look fresh, because it isn't. There isn't a single bit of originality or interesting dialogue...Cellular is the absolute epitome of the term 'rote'.

Cellular can be fun, and is worth watching to a degree. But like Flyboys, only watch it if you A: Like Chris Evans, or B: Don't have anything else better to do.

I would say this film is an excellent parody of a Hollywood movie. But that's giving way too much credit to the crew behind this thing. 

Devlin, you're into me for 40 bucks now...and I don't take checks.

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