Sunday, December 8, 2013

Paranoia - Review

Dismayed at being fired after a disastrous phone presentation in front of his hoity-toity British boss (Gary Oldman), hipster Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) decides to deliver some payback by charging up a $16,000(!) bar tab on the company's credit card. When the wooden doofus remembers that he could face felony charges because of this, his former boss instead blackmails him into committing corporate espionage by being planted into his competitor's company, headed by his former buddy (Harrison Ford). Sometimes, a throwback film is a good thing to experience, but I don't think anyone in the entire world wanted a return to the 90's tech thrillers like THE NET. PARANOIA has a dreadful script that was seemingly ripped out of a screenplay's how-to guide, as it hits every note expected. The direction is banal and flavorless, crafting nil in the suspense department. There are several bad performances by the cast, all of whom choke on the dialogue vomit, but none come ever close to the world-class sprinter of awfulness, Liam Hemsworth. He is so pathetic as a leading man, possessing none of the mighty strength to carry the picture by himself. Instead of drawing any sympathy for his white-boy plight, the churned-out beauty makes Adam even more detestable with every flat line reading and expression. It would have been a tall order to care about Adam anyway with someone else: The man is a loathsome sociopath who stalks a girl, exploits her for sex and her company secrets, yet we are programmed to root for their strained courtship to work out after all of the turmoil. This heinous behavior culminates when Adam brings "the big heat" in the inevitable finale, where his manipulative actions at one point causes someone to be murdered off-screen. How did the FBI let that one slide? It may seem television-suitable but don't let the window dressing fool you; PARANOIA is an astonishingly shabby production.


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