Friday, September 10, 2004

film: Cellular

Cellular 3/5

Thugs break into an upscale-looking home, shoot the housekeeper and kidnap the wife (Jessica Martin - Kim Basinger.) They steal the family’s Porsche SUV and stash her away in the attic of a safehouse as a prisoner. One of the thugs, played by Jason Statham (The Transporter), smashes the attic telephone with a sledgehammer, narrowly missing Jessica Martin’s head. The scene is meant to intimidate her.

Left alone, she manages to mend the phone enough to allow her to “dial” random numbers by touching a couple of wires together. She ends up connecting to the cell phone of Ryan, a seemingly unremarkable college-aged dude with a totally hot girlfriend who he’s trying to stay with despite her disinterest in his juvenile ways. While running an errand to impress his girlfriend, Ryan receives a phone call from the captive Jessica Martin, a total stranger who he at first disbelieves. Ryan soon takes up Jessica’s cause and stumbles through a series of misadventures in order to save her life.

The supporting cast saves this film from being a dud. Rick Hoffman is absolutely hilarious as the slick, wanna-be woman-magnet lawyer who has his new Porsche carjacked by our hero. This guy needs to be in more films! William H. Macy plays a cop who is nearing retirement and dreams about opening up a day spa – a most unlikely career for a man to go into. As usual, Macy is superb, even in this lightweight film. Jason Statham is menacing, mean and intense as one of the key bad guys. He’s not as charismatic as he was in the Guy Ritchie films, but he is a talent in need of a suitable film to launch his career to greater heights. Kim Basinger and her film family won’t win any awards her, but she truly does look frazzled and worried.

Sure, there are holes in the plot and scenes that are too contrived to be really believable, but this is not a dreadful film. Still, compared to superior movies like Collateral and Spartan, Cellular is formulaic and mostly forgettable. Not a film I would see again.

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