I tried hard to like Cellular, mostly because it stars one of my favorite actors, William H. Macy (Fargo, Magnolia). He gives one of the best and funniest performances of his career as a police desk sergeant Bob Mooney who is busy buying sea sponges and live algae facial masks in preparation to open a spa ("not a beauty parlor," as he likes to point out). Kim Basinger, who spends most of the 89-minute-long movie crying and talking to a phone, renders her character believably distraught. But neither Macy nor Basinger nor the intriguing setup nor the bursts of situational wit can rescue David R. Ellis's action thriller from joining the category of movies that are so bad they're good. I guess one can put it in more encouraging terms: it's a good bad movie.
Cellular is a roaming version of Phone Booth, the other thriller in which a phone connection is the protagonist's life line. No surprise there: the same Larry Cohen who wrote the script for Phone Booth constructed Cellular with an equally reckless abandon of logic.
A high school science teacher named Jessica Martin (Basinger) sees her son off to a school bus stop, and upon returning home, she is startled by armed intruders. Commencing a long string of improbabilities, they kill her maid the moment they enter the place. They kidnap Jessica and lock her in an attic of an unknown home. One of the abductors smashes the only phone in the attic. Alas, Jessica manages to put the shattered phone's wires together well enough to make a call.
She gets through to Ryan (Chris Evans), a superficial twentysomething man who is trying to win back the good graces of a hottie who believes that he's an undeserving slacker. We find him on the Santa Monica Pier, where he is not the only one ogling ...1
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