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Cellular (2004)

If the signal dies so does she.

Directed by:

David R. Ellis

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 94 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 15

Country: United States

‘Cellular’ could just as easily have been titled ‘Nokia: The Movie’. Sure, the cast list has Kim Basinger, Chris Evans and William H. Macy occupying the positions where the stars should be, but don’t let that fool you: this is a film where showing us actual human beings plays second fiddle to show-casing the latest in mobile phone technology at every turn.

Hands-free kits, digital video recording, in-car equipment, daft-looking ear-clip thingies – they all get to play their part as this wholly ridiculous action-thriller unfolds over an unintentionally chortlesome hour-and-a-half.

Basinger plays LA mom Jessica Martin, who’s none too chuffed when, shortly after dropping off chino-clad sprog Ricky for his day’s schooling (that’s right, her son’s called Ricky Martin), she’s kidnapped by a gang of bestubbled heavies (among them bargain basement Cockney Jason Statham). Thankfully, she’s skilled at rudimentary telephone mechanics, so is able to use a battered-up ringer to get through to the outside world for help. Even more luckily, the mobile phone she manages to make contact with belongs to someone who’s in exactly the same part of the same town. Unfortunately (well, the run of luck had to earn somewhere), the bloke on the other end is gawp-mouthed hunk Ryan. Played by Evans, the latest in Hollywood’s long line of utterly charmless Johnny Handsomes, Ryan’s not exactly the sharpest tool in the box. In fact, it’s probably testament to the user-friendliness of today’s mobile hardware that this dribbling dullard is even able to find the “on” button.

What follows is a roller-coaster ride of all-out silliness as Ryan speeds through the town attempting to save various members of Jessica’s family before the baddies can get to them too – and invariably failing each time. Director David Ellis, the former stuntman whose previous effort was ‘Final Destination 2’, does everything with pace but nothing with thought – with the result that the film is often a great deal of fun, but seldom makes any sense. It’s the sort of film where practically every scene has a reason why it would just never happen in the real world, but works under the misconception that if it’s done with enough enthusiasm it’ll somehow manage to be taken seriously. I’ll say right now, with the utmost confidence, that there’s absolutely no chance of that happening – but, if you go into it looking for nothing more than a bit of a laugh, you might just enjoy it.

It's Got: Crossed wires.

It Needs: Text messaging (sorry – I mean “txt mssgng”).

Alternatives:

Phone Booth, Speed, Trapped

Summary

It’s silly, it’s massively unbelievable, and it features the most grossly cynical amount of product placement you’re likely to see – but it’s just about exciting enough to be a guilty pleasure.

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