I had a free afternoon and remembered I’d missed a couple of movies lately, so I took in a double feature this afternoon. (And for a change, I bought both tickets. Go, me.) One thing I don’t understand about movie-goers: what does it take to get them to laugh? I know you’ll hear laughter in a crowded theater when something funny happens, but once you’re down to twenty people or less, whether the movie is a comedy or a drama with tension-breaking dialogue, I find that typically only me and my rare company are the people who actually laugh at stuff. It’s very bizarre. All Village of the Damned-y.
Well, be that as it may, the first show of the day was Cellular. This is the heart-warming tale of Botox Barbie (played by Kim Basinger) who is kidnapped for the crimes of 1) owning a million dollar plus home in upscale Los Angeles on her high school science teacher salary and her husband’s real estate commissions, 2) Having a housekeeper and an alarm system on the same pair of salaries, but not having that alarm system go off if someone smashes the glass on one of the doors, 3) Despite having all of these perks on such tiny salaries, believing that the kidnappers have got the wrong person, and 4) Ensuring that her 11 year old son is the lamest kid in school by walking him to the bus stop every morning.
Luckily (well, for her), she hotwires a busted phone well enough to enlist the aid of beach bum Ryan, who has conveniently just set out to prove to his ex- that he can be responsible. He’s able to accomplish this in record time, running down the halls of a posh private school yelling for one of the kids to come out and trust the crazy man, carjacking $80k cars with alacrity rarely seen outside the Grand Theft Auto series, and line-cutting in phone stores at gunpoint.
Actually, as suspense flicks go, it’s pretty good. The plotholes are reasonably rare, the tension reasonably thick, and the gunplay/explosions reasonably compelling. Plus, you get William H. Macy for at least a good 1/6 of the film. This is a man who can bring gravitas to the act of wiping off a mud mask. Unfortunately for him, this role proves it.