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Cellular is a fast paced, exciting and entertaining movie. It is a simple film yet an interesting one. The plot isn't new or anything but the execution is pretty good. They manage to keep the audience glued to the screen and at the edge of their seats. Keep in mind though that the film is highly unrealistic. There are a few eye rolling moments and some of the scenes may be hard to buy. I didn't have any real problems with it but some other people may complain about it. The movie is also pretty predictable. It is easy to see where things are going and the inside man is also easy to figure out.
The acting is pretty good with the best being William H. Macy. He plays the cop role pretty well and he has a few funny lines. Chris Evans gives a decent performance and he is now forgiven for appearing in the Perfect Score. Kim Basinger gives an okay performance. Sometimes she was a little too weak while other times she was just average. Jessica Biel was in the movie for about 10 minutes so it's not really worth watching. Jason Statham gives a pretty convincing performance as the bad guy though sometimes he seemed a little bored. Noah Emmerich gives an awful performance as Jack. He was just reading his lines the entire time. One of the worst performances of 2004.
David R. Ellis does a good job at directing. He keeps the audience entertained and he never lets stupidity bring down the movie. If you do give the movie a shot, just ignore any plot holes. Cellular is a thriller/action movie and if you take it seriously then you will hate the movie. The film is advertised as a harmless thriller and it succeeds as one. In the end, Cellular is a "B" movie at heart and a pretty good one. It never takes itself too seriously and it never becomes dull. Rating 8/10
Gimmicky thriller premises are a dime a dozen. Fox's 24 essentially expounds on that idea every episode without any rhythm or consistency. The real trick is executing the idea with the right panache and skill to weave it all into a fun thriller. So is David R. Ellis' Cellular worthy of Phone Booth acclaim, or is it just another Nick of Time? You just might be surprised to see it's every bit as enjoyable as the former, with only occasional hints at the pure cheese of the latter.
Young beach bum Ryan (Chris Evans) is having just another typical day of sun and fun at the beach, but his girlfriend (Jessica Biel) sees his behavior as lazy and irresponsible. To try and patch things up, he promises to run a few errands for her, but on the way, he receives a call on his cell phone from a stranger named Jessica Martin (Kim Basinger), a woman who claims she's been kidnapped and is being held in the attic of an unfamiliar house. Her call to Ryan was completely random, but the catch is, she has to stay on the line or the signal may be lost for good.
Though initially dubious of her outrageous claims, Ryan quickly comes to believe her after he overhears one of the kidnappers on the phone. Deciding to help out in any possible way he can, Ryan tries to locate her family before the kidnappers do. Unfortunately, obstacles to keeping the phone signal going present themselves at every turn, and Ryan finds he must go through some extreme measures to keep Jessica on the line.
It's these obstacles that make up at least half the fun of watching Cellular. Whether it's a dying battery, "typical" close call encounters with the villains, car chases that require driving backwards or on the wrong side of the road, director Ellis keeps the pace lightning fast by presenting every plausible hindrance there is to keeping a cell phone signal alive. That might not be as immediately catchy a premise as keeping a bus above 50 mph, but it's hard to care when the gimmick is delivered with this much fresh skill and energy. Ellis also directed the enjoyable Final Destination 2, proving he has what it takes to deliver straight-faced thrillers in spite of their naturally ridiculous premises.
But as terrific a job as Ellis does, it's the cast that keeps the momentum going even when the story starts to sag. As the everyman caught in this horrifying situation, Chris Evans is wholly convincing and immensely appealing as Ryan, playing out an otherwise simple role for all its worth. Most of the movie rests on his shoulders, so it's to no small amount of praise when I say that we eagerly want to follow him through every move of his day-long adventure. Kim Basinger is surprisingly just as good as the kidnapped woman, proving that much like her physical features, her acting skills are improving with age. The other major standout is Jason Statham as the head kidnapper; he's obviously affecting an American accent that's not all that believable, but he brings an intensity to the role that makes him fiercely menacing.
The plot boasts the expected coincidences and contrivances that are needed to fuel the story, and most of these are easy enough to accept, but there are admittedly a few nagging problems. While I could reasonably believe that the kidnappers wouldn't tie up Jessica and could also accept that she knows just enough about phones to fix one up well enough to make one call, I found it less easy to swallow that the kidnappers wouldn't at least keep a guard posted right outside or inside her room. No biggie, though.
The more bothersome bits involve a few unlikely coincidences that allow a cop (played by William H. Macy, who delivers another one of his requisite subtly funny performances) to conveniently piece together a number of the clues. Even more troublesome is the climax, which has the unfortunate task of resolving every introduced plot strand, and while the results are still highly entertaining, it comes across a bit messy (though ironically finishing things up on a nice and tidy final note).
Still, the story makes a lot of right choices when a lesser movie would have simply veered off course for good. A plot twist involving the villains' identities and their motives is smart and surprising. The movie also satisfyingly chooses to reveal its surprise villain halfway through rather than saving it for a silly last-minute unveiling.
The film also boasts a good sense of humor, a lot of it coming from Evans, who handles the comic moments with natural ease (no real surprise, he was also very funny in Not Another Teen Movie). His best moment comes in one scene where he's in a private school searching for Jessica's kid, flabbergasted over his name (which is particularly funny) and how identical every student looks in the same brand of clothing. The laughs don't defuse the tension, though, and it's with this fun mixture of suspense and occasional comic ingenuity that makes this a highly recommended thriller.
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.
I could go on forever, the writers are complete idiots....
In addition this was such a clear Nokia and Porshce commercial that it just goes beyond a good taste. - Cayenne, which break storage room and Boxter that flies around. Neither of the cars get truly damaged. - Nokia functionality explained and shown, this movie could be used as a manual for the phone itself?
Btw - In US phones do not seem to work at tunnel? Well, in Europe they do
Ellis seems to have unwittingly spliced together two different films with mismatched tones: Kim Basinger as the kidnapee and Jason Statham as the kidnapper occupy the deadly-serious, straight-to-video thriller half, while Chris Evans as the rescuer and William H. Macy as a police officer seem to be in a "Saturday Night Live"-alum action comedy. Nowhere else is the disjointedness in tone more apparent than when Basinger and Evans's performances are placed side-by-side during their conversations: The scenes keep cutting between an overwrought Basinger wringing out every drop of melodrama, while a blissfully inept Evans seems to be channeling a cross between Chris Kattan/Jimmy Fallon and Ben Affleck/Keanu Reeves.
Meanwhile, Ellis pulls out tricks intended to generate thrills and surprises. He throws in out-of-nowhere "shocks," a la "Final Destination"; he throws in flashbacks; he throws in a gun-blazing Macy in Jerry Bruckheimer action-hero slo-mo; and yet, Ellis has no handle on staging any of them competently. Case in point: "Cellular" is the proud owner of one of the most ineptly scored chase sequences ever, as if Ellis simply heard a snippet of the song's lyrics ("...where you gonna run to?") literally and paid no attention to the inappropriateness of the accompanying music (which just bop, bop, bops along). (The song is even reprised during the closing credits, which itself is misbegotten in conception.)
And yet, for all of its failures as art, "Cellular" is always entertaining for those very same faults.
Just an example of the terrible writing - The kidnappers steal Kim's Porsche Cayanne and then all she can say to her cell buddy when attempting to thwart the kidnapping of her son is that her car is a "black SUV". Come on!!! She HAS to know that it's a Porsche for Chrissakes - not to mention that giving the license number may have helped. DUH!
And then when there's nobody home on the fourth floor of the PD - yeah, sure.
I finally had had enough when the slacker dude takes off after the Porsche in the tiny Security car - uh huh, like he could keep up with the Porsche or that the Security Car wouldn't look conspicuous and the kidnappers, realizing that they were being followed, would simply put pedal to the metal and say "see ya" - a premise that seems beyond the reasoning of our hero.
I'm all for action films, but you have to at least have some basis in reality, and this film truly lacks that basis. Maybe someone thought the whole idea was clever - 1001 ways to make use of a cell phone, but when there is absolutely no reality quotient.... well it just makes a bad film.
Anyone else wonder (1) how a school teacher would be home in the middle of the day (and able to then pick up her son after school) (2) how a school teacher who, by her own admission, doesn't have a lot of money, lives in a fancy house, has a maid, drives a 70,000 dollar car, and has her son enrolled in a private school. Totally laughable.
This action packed cellular ride showcased the poor acting ability of Kim Basinger and the honest proof that Oscar's are sometimes just handed out to anyone. Couldn't they have afforded Marisa Tomei? Either way, from the unbelievable turn as a science teacher to also a doctor, there was nothing real about her performance. Even when she was frightened, she wasn't actually frightened, but instead "acting" frightened. There was no depth or range to her character. I didn't care if she survived or died throughout this entire story. There was nothing that attached me to her, other than the fact that she was like a feminine MacGyver of sorts. Then, if Basinger's acting wasn't poor enough, you also had to deal with the ability of Chris Evans to work with a cell phone. I mean, please, if you were given a script and your co-actor was a piece of machinery, you really have to start thinking about which direction you want your career to go. Evans only has about three faces of surprise and excitement, and he used them all within the first three minutes of the film. The rest of the time we are left with nothing more than recycled emotions as he attempts to upstage his cell phone. It was pathetic. With these two actors anchoring the film down on both ends, it made me happy to have a cell phone in this picture. Without it, I don't think there would have been any value to this. Could you image this film with a rotary phone? HA. That would have made a much better film than what was presented here.
I would like to take a moment to compliment the cell phone on its ability in this film. I don't know about you, but I hope that it was paid better than the actors that were involved. I hope it had its own trailer, its own entourage, and everything it desired. Was there an audition for this cell phone? I think I would have enjoyed seeing the audition tapes as a supplemental feature to this DVD. When Oscars come around again this year, I would not be surprised to see the cell phone perhaps be nominated? Is that too much to ask? I mean, look at the world today. Cell phone is at the peak of its game. Everyone has one, and everyone is talking to one. It is the biggest star this world has ever seen, and finally it has the ability to showcase its talent in this film. I loved everything this cell phone did in this movie, especially the ending. While you may think that it was a climactic moment between Statham and Macy, I thought that I was biting my fingers over the cell phone more than the human element. When it rang at the end, I nearly jumped. What other actor could bring that much emotion to the screen none other than this multi-talented cell phone. I wouldn't be surprised it the next picture that it chose to do would be perhaps a period piece film. You know, stretch its talent. Don't be surprised if you see more from this amazing actor as the years progress. I think it is likely to take the place of the "Hall of Fame" actor, the cigarette. Just watch and see!
Overall, outside of the cell phone, this was a poor film. This film is labeled as an "action" film, but for some reason laughter bellowed from me more than actual excitement. Cellular was riddled with implausible events coupled with clichéd moments that screamed Hollywood control. While it did showcase some great actors who have developed a fine body of work, this film proves that even the mighty can fall. Statham needs to stop working for money and Macy was just getting paid. Basinger needs to remarry Baldwin and live off his money for awhile. With bad acting and just this hysterical dilemma, the mixed bag of messages seemed to just get further and further away from reality. It became a comedy instead of an action film. From the beginning to the end, there was nothing redeeming about this picture (outside of the acting from the cell phone). I have trouble seeing what people loved about this film. Honestly, if this were to happen to you, would you steal cars, shoot people, and cause explosions? Nope, I think the general public would just hang up. Test this theory out when you have the time.
Grade: two bars out of five
Perhaps I went to see the movie without much expectation, hence being able to enjoy it fine as it is. If you expect substance, this movie is not it -- director Michael Mann's recent film "Collateral" 2004, with Tom Cruise, Jaimie Foxx and Jada Pinkett Smith, did optimize the cellular phone as part of a substantial plot progression. To be more esoteric, try the Iranian film by w-d Abbas Kiarostami (of "A Taste of Cherry" fame), "The Wind Will Carry Us" 2000, which also featured the cellular phone in a down to earth way. Also brings to mind is the Danish film by Dogma w-d Thomas Vintenberg "The Celebration" aka Festen 1998 (an emotional powerhouse surrounding the reunion of a dysfunctional family), and the PBS TV series "Reckless" 1997-98 with the irresistible ménage a trois of Robson Green, Francesca Annis and Michael Kitchen, the cellular phone was well featured as a plot 'crutch' in both.
It's a timely reflection, or reminder, of how cellular technology is consumingly inhabiting our lives, and here in this breeze of a movie, we have a life saver adventure -- a day in the life of Ryan (Chris Evans), to the rescue of a civilian family from the claws of relentless bad cops (well, nothing so complicated or devastatingly psycho-play as "Training Day," of course). This is a lightweight fare. Just enjoy it as it is. Kim Basinger and William H. Macy didn't have to exert much acting chops per se. Evans, and the video cellphones (yes, not just one, there's two needed to complete the plot turns), sure carried the movie, alright. One would forgive or welcome the convenient plot points that Basinger happens to be a teacher of science/biology handy with wires (harkens the beginning credit of production company name -- "Electric Entertainment," hm), and Macy's soon to retire good cop happens to follow his curiosity instinct, and thank goodness Evan's character turned out to be not so goofy but smarter and thinking by the minute.
It's relaxing entertainment, with no need of foul language involved -- straightforward ride, with adequate supporting roles including Jason Statham ("The Transporter" 2002 and "The Italian Job" 2003), and a seemingly unsuspecting role as the cop boss by Noah Emmerich (last seen in "Beyond Borders" 2003 opposite Clive Owen and Angelina Jolie).
At only 89 minutes it could reasonably have been summed up into a 1 hour network cop show.
The shtick with Basinger only being able to call "Ryan" is interesting for about the length of time it takes for her to convince him she really has been kidnapped.
Macy's "good cop" character is at least worth watching for the couple of scenes he gets to throw some humor into the mix. In the end though, Macy's character ends up in the show down you knew he would wind up in the first time you saw him on screen: coming to the realization that his buddy on the police force is actually a bad cop.
What is the movie industry coming to, first a movie about a guy and a phone, and soon a movie about some people stranded in the desert rebuilding a plane. Common, I could watch "Purple Rain" and get ten times more enjoyment from it.
What looks like a average B grade action film, turns out nothing but terrible trash. With a script severely under developed, sounding like it was written by a ten year old, your cutting yourself short. No characters are developed, they're all one dimensional and transparent. Right from the get go, the dialog screeches like finger nails on a black board, with one hammy conversation between Jessica and son. The jokes of Ryan hypocritically yelling at people for driving and talking on their phones, or driving a security car with 'safety First' while barreling through a construction site are nauseating.
So many films run off disbelief, but everything in Cellular is just unbelievable. Each situation just has no credibility. Ryan's feeble attempts to keep the line connection to Jessica, the chase's from the kidnappers, the car chase through apposing traffic; which is lifted straight out of Ronin, lack so much tension and suspension; not being helped by one atrocious music score.
With bland and flavourless action, the acting is stiffer than rigor mortis, with no sign of a pulse anywhere. Kim Basinger is woeful with her fragile, distressed damsel, it's depressing after she gave such a great performance in The Door in the Floor. Chris Evans is his usual cocky self. William H. Macy is sorely underused; wasting such talent. Jason Statham never evokes menace as Ethan; relying to much on his deep husky voice for fear.
The enter film is a joke; but your not laughing.
There were maybe 30 people in the theatre and you would have thought this was a comedy... everyone laughed at how poor the acting was (Basinger especially), how stupid the people were, how hokey the lines were and how the tension was non-existent. This would play very well as a 1 hour Charlie's Angel's episode from the 70's. Those can be entertaining but you don't want to spend 10 bucks and two hours to watch one.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a little humor in a suspense thriller... it breaks the tension and brings you back to reality, but they forgot the suspense and thrill. I don't even know where this movie would place on a video shelf... Comedy is the closest I can match up. This is NOT edge of your seat stuff, and the more I think about it the director should take most of the blame... he should have been fired for wasting me 2 hours.
Way too silly and corny..... C-
The plot (everybody else has given that so I won't bore on) had potential, and we were prepared to suspend disbelief a bit, but really, so much bad acting and utter nonsense with people hearing music from broken phones hidden under coats across a 20 foot attic space attic , well, please.............
One of those where, when other people's reviews praise it, you cannot believe you watched the same movie
The whole plot of this movie could be ended from the very first minutes at any time by just one phone call to the police. But it seems too complex to dimwits who spend an hour and half of screen time acting like imbeciles and running around with guns, stealing cars and putting the lives of hundreds if not thousands people around in mortal danger. Cops, store clerks, lawyers etc. are just plain stupid. I just can't believe that anyone could write such weak script, that anyone can approve it and make a movie.
As if to prove my point, this morning I heard a review by some critic writing for Newsday (out of New York). The guy was so pathetically ENVIOUS of this so-not-New York movie that I had to laugh out loud in sheer delight.
Only Cellular is a more wholesome and complete film than Phone Booth. It doesn't make any attempt at satire, or make fun of the media, but does have terrific energy and intelligence. No, Cellular is NOT a no-brainer.
Ryan, played by Chris Evans (no, not the ginger, speccy nerd from British TV), is a punk kid who never takes anything seriously and is far too laid back to keep his girlfriend happy. But his life crosses paths with a woman in trouble. Will he finally grow up when her fate becomes his responsibility? Kim Basinger (aging more gracefully than I previously assumed) is that woman. She's being held in a spooky old attic by corrupt cop Jason Statham and painstakingly "repairs" a broken phone. She's about to reach out to somebody, anybody. The only number she manages to hook up to is Ryan's.
He immediately takes the problem to the fuzz. The only cop who will listen is Mooney (William H Macy), but he's too fed up and dismissive to take much notice. Not at first, anyway. As Ryan races around the city, overcoming difficult and dangerous obstacles, Mooney puts it all together and slowly realises things ain't what they seem.
I had only ever seen Evans in the rather dull Perfect Score before this movie, but he made for a totally cool hero that everyone can relate to. Most actors his age irritate the hell out of me. I can only imagine how bad this film would have been with Seann William Scott, or Freddie Prinze Jr., for example.
Basinger does everything she can with her damsel in distress. It's usually quite insulting to an actress's intelligence to reduce her to such a cliché, though she manages to bring integrity and desperation to the role more convincingly than most actresses her age.
And of course we all love and adore Jason Statham. He may be a skinhead with a funny sounding voice, but be it hero or villain he's dead cool and makes Vin 'Donald Duck' Diesel look like a right poof.
Director David Ellis races through the far-fetched plot without looking back and keeps everything fast-paced and exciting right up to the last minute. He's the man who made a good sequel out of a bad original (that would be Final Destination) and with many other directors the ludicrousness of the plot would be all too apparent. Here, we don't get a single breath to take it all in.
The show-stealing is split two ways. Macy is great as the Ned Flanders-type cop, but Rick Hoffmann is hilarious as an obnoxious lawyer who stands in Ryan's way and gets his comeuppance not once, not twice, but thrice.
There's not been a kidnapping thriller as gripping as this since Kurt Russell lost his wife in Breakdown. Cellular is definitely the right number.
Oh, and in case it was bugging you, that movie the bad guys are watching is Final Destination 2