Paranoia

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Release: Thursday, August 15, 2013

[Theater]

I’d like to plead the fifth to any questions raised concerning whether I just went to see this for Amber Heard. I mean, come on guys. It’s also got Liam Hemsworth in it — you know, that strapping gentleman from The Hunger Games, real-life brother of Thor, hello? And this movie also features huge A-listers in Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman. Why anyone would ask me whether she was the reason I saw Paranoia is actually pretty logical, though. There are scant reasons to see this aside from her. To be delicate, this movie leaves only nine other spots on a theoretical list I’m making of the Ten Worst Films I’ve Ever Seen. The script for this supposed crime-drama is that bad, it really is.

As always, I got ahead of myself and checked the status of the upcoming movie on Rotten Tomatoes before going in and what I saw really shocked me. As limited as the marketing was backing up Luketic’s new project, the trailers had me believing we would be getting a cool new action thriller. Oldman in another sinister role, awesome. How the film would qualify for my “list of ten worst films” considering the disappointing little you get from a cast as good as this. It is stunning how terrible the dialogue is for much of the movie, and a lot of the time the plot doesn’t make sense. While there are moments that invite your eyes to widen a little bit as if you’re ready to change facial expressions, the vast majority of Paranoia is utterly, utterly flat and boring.

(I’m actually patting myself on the back for not walking out on this.)

But yet, there was some. . .quality to this film remaining that managed to keep me there, along with, I guess, the other six people who were in my theater. Despite director Robert Luketic’s seeming incompetence to provide anything but cliches to fill the time, the presence of Oldman, Ford and to a lesser degree, Hemsworth, were a bit compelling.

Some semblance of a plot is as follows:

Adam Cassidy (Hemsworth) is a bright, hard-working 27-year old fighting in the corporate world to get ahead and earn a job that will finally pay him his dues. His status and work ethic suggest advancement but his boss, the insufferable Nick Wyatt (Oldman), insists he’s nothing special. He proves it by firing him along with his team of brainiac friends after a presentation Adam was giving failed to impress a distracted Mr. Wyatt. Adam then takes his friends out for drinks as an apology for his pushiness which led to their firings, but he also uses the leftover allowance on his corporate credit card to pay for the night. Win-win, or so he thinks.

Wyatt bargains with him when he discovers $16k has been spent the night of his dismissal, and during one of the only good scenes in this entire yawn-a-thon, Oldman’s menacing temperament is shown. He tells Adam he is going to work for his rival company — Eikon, run by his former partner, Jock Goddard (Ford) — and gain valuable inside information for Wyatt’s personal gain. Even if the plot is unremarkable in that regard, there wasn’t much of a chance to enjoy the development since Luketic insisted the movie be dumbed down as possible.

It was like a spelling bee First Round, where the words are very easy and simple and everyone gets it correctly — that’s how this script passed by editors, got approval. Inexplicably, the likes of Ford, Oldman and Hemsworth, and even Amber Heard as the potential love interest for Adam, a very on-again/off-again Emma Jennings, who didn’t have much to say but what she did have to say was utterly bland — all these people agreed to what they read! It is tough to understand unless you watch this, but that’s a thing that I absolutely insist you do not do.

As Adam receives a “make-over” of sorts from a couple of Wyatt’s corporate malefactors, Dr. Bolton (Embeth Davidtz) and “Meechum” (Julian McMahon) — this is an attempt to integrate Adam into the image that would attract Eikon to hire him which really is mostly just unbelievable — he is erstwhile attempting to look more divided about the situation he is in. Hemsworth does his best in expressing it, but his character is a dumb dog following its commands. In moments he’s meant to be expressing his ehem paranoia . . . he ends up just looking confused or annoyed. Not his fault, though. There’s really nothing to react to most of the time.

The plan is to get a hold of an advanced phone technology being developed by the genius but selfish Goddard, and Wyatt uses Adam to physically steal the next-level device from its heavily-protected chamber on the 38th floor of the building. Yes, all that familiar rigamarole. Insisting Adam’s services have been sufficiently provided and that he will not continue doing his former boss’ dirty work, he tells Wyatt that he’s done, he’s out. Unfortunately, more bad movie ensues.

Half-heartedly acted, poorly edited and with simply nothing at all to distinguish itself from the ranks of other crime-drama thrillers revolving around technological one-upmanship, Paranoia is a kick to the stomach thinking about the wasted potential. Perhaps there were things going on behind the scenes that contributed to the film’s rather hushed promotion and subsequent release, and which may explain possible on-set awkwardness that allowed the film to come out as clumsy as it has. Mere speculation on my part, but I just hope there’s something else besides Luketic simply producing a complete and total misfire here.

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1-5Recommendation: Stay away. A complete let-down, even for me as I sat down thinking how much fun this is going to be to try and defy the odds of it being grossly under appreciated in the initial reviews. Even with fake expectations, I came out still. . . disappointed.

Rated: PG-13

Running Time: 106 mins.

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Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.imdb.com 

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30 thoughts on “Paranoia

  1. Pingback: The 2013 DigiBread Awards | digitalshortbread

    • Considering how terribly it has done here, it’s doubtful it’ll get a very wide international release. This was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen honestly. Even if it does get released near you, I’d highly recommend catching it on a rental, if at all.

    • lol i can barely tell the two apart (Chris and Liam, that is) had it not been for Thor’s booming, tree-splinteringly thunderous voice 😀 and no, i don’t have a crush on him, i just respect the power of the hammer. . . . .

      as for this movie, though. yep. complete shiite. amber heard is great. great = hot.

  2. Great review, Tom. I can’t believe this movie has a 2% on rotten tomatoes. It makes me curious to see if I think it’s as bad as everyone else is saying, but at the same time I’m like “Nope. Not gonna happen.” 🙂

    • Honestly, i didn’t think it deserves quite this low of a rating — i reserve 2 or 5%’s to things like Movie 43 (not sure if you’ve seen that one). although this was a pretty bad movie. it was very, very boring which i think is one of the most offensive things a movie can really be. the writing was so damn terrible i think i might’ve done better had i written it myself! lol. but of course i won’t stop you from shelling out a few bucks for curiosity’s sake 😉

      Thanks for coming by man.

  3. Great post. Amber Heard? Where are all the female movie reviewers? 😉 If I ever watch this film, it would be for Gary Oldman, although I have no idea what an actor like HIM doing in the film like THIS.

    • truth be told Oldman is almost one thing that really worked in this film. he’s so, so nasty and evil and scum baggy but the movie needed way more of that. it was so completely hampered by bad writing. i can’t understand it either, how this attracted him along with Harrison Ford and Hemsworth and Amber Heard. nice scenery, shitty movie. 😛 Thanks for reading

    • hahah indeed! she’s incredibly gorgeous. pretty much literally the only factor separating this 2/8 from a 1/8. or a zero out of 8. this WAS awful. i feel bad for gary oldman and harrison ford. to a degree, hemsworth too, but god only knows what those two bigger-named actors were thinking signing up for this

    • No worries Nick. What’s more is that I thought I had accumulated enough points on my damn Regal Crown Club card and the dummy at the box office couldn’t understand that i had actually surpassed the number of points needed to see a free flick. when she refused, i gave in and ended up paying to see this. all the more reason i have a bitter taste in my mouth.

  4. You should submit this for Shitfest : )

    P.S. *shifts eyes around* I didn’t watch And Soon the Darkness to see Amber Heard slink around in a bikini for 30 minutes either.

    • hahah damn i eagerly await the arrival of it. i hope you tear it a new one, because shame on Luketic for letting his stars drown in completely and utter dross. this was an incredible let-down. in a way, it’s almost interesting because of how much it let everyone down.

  5. Fun review! I gotta say, something never looked quite right about this one. That’s why it made it onto my skip list! Sounds like avoidance is recommended! 🙂

    • Yes indeed Keith. there’s no way around it — simply skip the crap out of this. It would probably be a waste of your time to catch it on TV or Netflix later. such a shame since I liked nearly everyone involved.

    • you know what Zoe, it really was. And it was sad, because the cast is so talented. i just don’t think Luketic should be allowed to make any more movies haha.

      • for sure. i think i’ve just decided that Robert Luketic doesn’t know how to make movies very well. i mean I liked 21 but even that had its fair share of major issues, and while i don’t agree with how poorly it did at RT and Metacritic etc etc, i see many of the same stylistic annoyances carried over to that film as well. but at least for me it worked in 21. the petition sheet is officially started. can i put your name on it too? even if you didn’t see it? lol

    • I KNOW!! it’s frustrating to say the least that the movie made no attempt at all to make anything, well. . . good. but the 2 pieces indicates Amber Heard was in it. which helps. ha!

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