Cellular

| September 17, 2004

To believe in the power of a magician, you must suspend belief. To believe in the magic of Hollywood, you have to suspend belief that some things happen in movies that can’t happen in the physical world and people do stupid things in the movies that they would not do in real life (like vote for GWB). Most movies ask you for some buy in…. Others ask for a lot. These latter movies I call Swiss Cheese Flicks because if you want the good taste of the cheese, you have to swallow a lot of holes in the plot.
Cellular is a Swiss Cheese Flick. I enjoyed it because I did not have the ending figured out too early. But my two female companions did not, so know that going in.
Here is a partial list of the things you will need you to buy in to enjoy Cellular:

  • An 11-year-old will hold his mommy’s hand on the way to the bus stop
  • Bad Guys in movies will always leave the keys to the get-away car within easy access in the car, making an escape possible
  • A Ford Fiesta handles like a Porsche
  • When in a Porsche, you can use a cell phone on speaker function with the top down and still be heard
  • A cell phone will beep “Battery Low” for 10 minutes and not lose a call
  • A self-absorbed teenager will take Kim Basinger’s phone call (maybe in 1984, but not in 2004 when she looks like the plastic surgery did not hold)
  • That there are bands of rogue crooked cops in Los Angeles (ooops)
  • You can buy imprinted t-shirts at Office Depot and not pay too much
  • That Dat Phan (Last Comic Standing) can act
  • People who have evidence of Crooked Cops keep it in safe deposit boxes instead of running to the nearest new$ outlet to ca$h in
  • Cell phone service in Los Angeles is amazing
  • That the same perfect parking spot at the Santa Monica Pier is always open and waiting just for you
  • That when you are a high school science teacher and you dont show up for work, they call the cops immediately
  • The public bus from LAX to Century City is as fast as taking a car.

Without so much as a ‘how-do-you-do’ in the character development department, Cellular opens with a home invasion kidnapping of Jessica Martin (Basinger). We find out later they are police officers trying to get a piece of evidence from Martin’s husband. She is taken to the Hide Out and thrown into the attic that comes complete with phone service. They “break” the phone, but not enough so that our MacGyver-like high school science teacher can still make it work, and she only enough to reach Chris Evans’ (Not Another Teen Movie, Perfect Score) fully charged, and amazingly wide-ranged cell phone. She begs him to help her by handing his phone to the nearest police officer.
Evans does this and we meet the best actor in this film, William H. Macy, who plays a 27-year veteran LAPD sargeant ready to quit and open a day spa with his wife. It is Macy who will play the clear cut hero in Cellular, which is great because in recent other flicks, The Cooler and Door-to-Door, he was not given so easy a role to play. Macy is a terrific actor. Too bad he fell into some of the holes in the cheese.
Will Evans and Mooney arrive in time to save Basinger and her family from being killed by the bad guys? Well, somebody has to die. At least writer Larry Cohen (he also wrote Phone Booth, can you believe it?) doesn’t make us wait too long (94 minutes) to find out who it is. So rent Cellular along with any other movie and make a double feature of it on the couch at home. If I am wrong, well, just don’t blame me.

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