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Cellular (2004)

6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 72,192 users   Metascore: 60/100
Reviews: 348 user | 126 critic | 29 from Metacritic.com

A young man receives an emergency phone call on his cell phone from an older woman. The catch? The woman claims to have been kidnapped; and the kidnappers have targeted her husband and child next.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Irate Customer #1
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Young Security Guard
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Chase Ellis Bloch ...
Timid Boy (as Chase Bloch)
Chelsea Ellis Bloch ...
Surf Girl's Friend (as Chelsea Bloch)
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Chloe's Chilly Friend
Robin Brenner ...
Excitable Customer
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Paige Cannon ...
Girl at Concert
Nikki Christian ...
Porsche Girl
...
Young Guard
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Aging Security Guard
...
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Storyline

A young man receives a call on his cellular phone from a woman who says she's been kidnapped, and thinks she's going to be killed soon, along with her husband and son who the kidnappers have gone after next. The catch? She doesn't know where she is... and his cell phone battery might go dead soon. Written by Tru Blu

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If the signal dies so does she.

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, terror situations, language and some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

10 September 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Final Call  »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$147,958 (Japan) (25 February 2005)

Gross:

$218,712 (South Africa) (4 March 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Larry Cohen worked on the script while he tried to get his screenplay Phone Booth (2002) sold. In a New Yorker article he says he wrote the film with the intention that it would be the direct opposite to Phone Booth (Phone Booth is about a man trapped on a phone in a booth, while this movie is about a man who is still trapped on a phone but can go anywhere). However, his friends told him that he had written the same screenplay twice. See more »

Goofs

When Ryan is in the boathouse, he does not appear to be wet after diving into the water. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ricky Martin: Mom, will you still be a science teacher when I get into high school?
Jessica Martin: Hmm... You never know. Why?
Ricky Martin: 'Cause I think it'd be kind of weird to have your mom as a teacher.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The first part of the closing credits show cast and crew names on cellular telephone screens. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cleanflix (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Kicking Back
Written by Garrett Dutton
Performed by Garrett Dutton (as G. Love)
Courtesy of Philadelphonic Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
All lines are busy...
24 September 2004 | by (St. Louis, Missouri) – See all my reviews

I like a movie that takes an idea or a theme or just an amusing gimmick and then runs with it. There is something exhilarating about being able to exhaust the possibilities of an idea without beating the whole thing to death. A great example is GROUNDHOG DAY; just when you think the filmmakers have milked the idea for all it's worth, they take off on a totally new tangent and the film ends up getting better and better. It is a sign that the writer and/or the director are thrilled with the sheer joy of creative exploration. They aren't just playing by the numbers, but are eager to go beyond expectations. This is film-making as a challenging game.

CELLULAR, while not in the same league as GROUNDHOG DAY, is nonetheless a good example of this type of storytelling. This time the linchpin of the story is the cell phone. The filmmakers seem to have made a list of everything that makes cell phones great (emergency use, portability, digital photography, etc.) as well as what makes them a nuisance (ringing at inappropriate times, crossed connections, lost signals, dying batteries, etc.) and incorporated both lists into a story. The trick isn't just to gerryrig the list into a story, but to do so in a coherent and plausible fashion. CELLULAR is a crackerjack piece of storytelling. The storyline is unlikely, but not impossible and it all unfolds at a steady clip that makes any loophole or implausibility fly by so fast that the viewer has little time to raise a question.

Beyond the gimmickry of the storytelling, the film also benefits from being a solid, efficient, no-nonsense piece of film-making. Directed by actor-turned-stuntman-turned-director David R. Ellis, this is an action-packed thriller that knows the value of blending action with humor and character. Without loosing its manic pace, the film nevertheless takes time for puckish humor and character development. As the damsel in distress, the Hitchcockian innocent man sucked into a web of intrigue and the retiring cop facing his one last case, the actors could have been saddled with one-note, cliché characters. But Kim Basinger, Chris Evans and William H. Macy are given ample room to not only act, but to create characters who are, more importantly, smart. They aren't at the mercy of the complicated plot, they are what moves it along.

My one genuine reservation with CELLULAR is that it is destined to become dated so very fast. Technology, the film's driving force, will quickly be its undoing. It brings to mind old episodes of the "Columbo" TV series, where Peter Falk's Lt. Columbo is seen to be in awe of computers and answering machines and video cameras and VCRs, and he has to go into great detail explaining how such gadgets and gizmos work and how they can be used as part of a murder plot. The cutting edge technology of the time now seems so elementary that Columbo's naivete seems rather silly. Yet, the Columbo stories still hold up thanks to clever storytelling and strong characters played by good actors. And from that perspective, CELLULAR just might hold up to be a minor classic, albeit as a period piece.


23 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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