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Capone is still looking over his shoulder to make sure the very stupid PARANOIA isn't following him!!!

Published at: Aug. 16, 2013, 9:09 p.m. CST by Capone

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

There is one short montage sequence in PARANOIA, during which we see star Liam Hemsworth (THE HUNGER GAMES), looking all shifty eyed at his surroundings in the big city. He may even look over his shoulder a few times because a lot of very bad people are after him, his friends and family. It's also the only time in the entire film when anyone connected with the making of it seems to remember what the title of the movie is. For the rest of the film Hemsworth's tech genius Adam Cassidy is strutting around like he's got everybody right where he wants them, including those trying to get to him.

Cassidy and his friends/teammates are working for a tech firm run by Nicholas Wyatt (Gary Oldman in ruthless businessman mode), and after blowing a pitch to their boss, they all get fired. But the next day, Wyatt calls Cassidy in and essentially blackmails him into going to work for his former mentor and direct competitor Jock Goddard (a bald Harrison Ford), who seems duly impressed with the way Cassidy's mind works and even compares him in smarts to Wyatt.

Is anyone in this line of work dumb enough not to suspect something fishy is going on? Wyatt continues to be heavy handed at manipulating Cassidy into attempting to steal the latest tech from Goddard, and he even suggests he simply march into the company's highly protected vault and just grab it and walk out. Seriously, it might be the single worst-planned heist in movie history. This is a film that hasn't got a clue how crimes are perpetrated, how companies are run, how technology works, or how people behave.

PARANOIA has a potentially interesting cast beginning with Amber Heard as Emma, the head of marketing for Goddard's company whom Cassidy has just started sleeping with. Julian McMahon plays Wyatt's thug, who specialty is threatening the lives of Cassidey's ailing but still frisky father (Richard Dreyfuss) and friends. Embeth Davidtz is on hand as Wyatt's... something tricky... still not sure exactly what her point is aside from looking good in a space-age suit and European bob hairstyle.

I'll just say it, director Robert Luketic is way out of his depth here. The studio would like you to think of him as the director of 21, but what he's really done are romantic and other lightweight comedies, including LEGALLY BLONDE (his only really good film), THE UGLY TRUTH, MONSTER-IN-LAW, and KILLERS; there's a lot of shit on that list, and you can add PARANOIA to the pile.

The only time this film isn't being predictable is when a character does something so stupid, you never would have thought of it. For example, in the film's big climactic showdown between the three principles, Cassidy's big idea for bringing down everybody is to record their conversation... on his cell phone... that's a conversation between the heads of the two biggest cell phone developers in the world... because neither of them would have taken precautions against that happening—like for example saying, "Take your cell phone out." Jesus!

While I don't have anything against Liam Hemsworth as an actor, he has yet to show me that he's anything more than a pretty face on a toned torso. He has yet to distinguish himself as a actor who can carry any type of emotional weight; he's not embarrassing himself or those around him, but he's not exactly setting the world on fire with his acting either. I'm not saying a better actor would have saved PARANOIA, but it couldn't have hurt. It's a rarer thing to say about a non-kids-oriented movie than you think, but this film is just plain dumb.

-- Steve Prokopy
"Capone"
capone@aintitcool.com
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