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A Man Was Trying to Help a Stranger in Cellular

Sep 21, 2004 (Updated Sep 21, 2004)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:William H. Macy. Entertaining movie.

Cons:Characters could have been developed more. Few things were unbelievable.

The Bottom Line: Cellular was entertaining. Fans of the cast may enjoy it.


It seems like most people have cell phones now. They can come in handy at times, but they can also cause some problems when people are busy talking on them while driving. For several years, cell phones have been used by characters in movies, though they were never that important to what was going on in the movie. That isn’t the case in the new movie Cellular. A cell phone was integral to what was going on in the movie.

Jessica Martin, a science teacher, lived with her family in Brentwood. One morning, after walking her son Ricky to his bus, her world was turned upside down. Armed men broke into her house, killed her housekeeper and took Jessica. They took her to a house and locked her in the attic. There was a very old rotary phone there that one of the men, Greer, smashed. The men wanted something and thought Jessica knew where it was. She had no idea what they were talking about. Once she was alone again, she started trying to get the phone to work by connecting wires.

Ryan was a young man that was heading off to pick up something for his former girlfriend Chloe. She and some friends were working for a charity event. Ryan wanted to get back with Chloe, which is why he went after the shirts. He got a call on his cell phone that turned out to be from Jessica. He thought it was a joke at first, but she convinced him to try to get help from the police. Jessica was able to hide the phone when Greer returned to the room, and Ryan overheard the exchange. That convinced Ryan that Jessica and her family were in danger. Ryan started trying to help her. Mooney, a cop that was getting ready to retire to open a day spa with his wife, became involved as well.

Cellular had an interesting idea for the plot. A cell phone hasn’t been used in this way in a movie before. The phone was very important to what was going on. Ryan’s phone was shown several times throughout the movie. That did make it seem a bit like a commercial for that model of Nokia phone at times, but that didn’t really bother me. The phone was one of the newer models that could take pictures and videos. Phones with cameras have been banned from some places since they first came out. I even heard about a man that was arrested for using one to take pictures up women’s skirts. I haven’t really seen the point of having a camera in a phone. In the situation in the movie, the phone ended up being very helpful. Ryan was willing to try to help a complete stranger once he was convinced the call wasn’t some kind of joke. A lot of people won’t do anything to try to help a stranger, yet Ryan did, getting himself into several dangerous situations. The idea of someone calling for help and getting a stranger was unique. The reason for why Jessica was kidnaped turned out to be rather unoriginal, but it worked in the movie.

There was suspense in the movie. There were several times when I didn’t know what would happen next. It wasn’t the most suspenseful movie, but that didn’t bother me. There was enough happening to keep me interested. Some things that happened were predictable, but I still enjoyed the movie. Some events were built up to add tension and suspense, but I didn’t really doubt the ultimate outcome. I don’t really think it was an action movie, though there was some action. There really weren’t any car chases in the movie. Ryan was racing around L.A. trying to help Jessica and her family. He was a little reckless a few times. Cellular took place over a very short time, so it was a fast paced movie. I didn’t think it was rushed. The shorter time frame just made some things seem more urgent. I do think things probably would have gotten boring if the movie covered a longer period. There were different camera shots and angels used. The camera didn’t seem to jump around as much as it did in some other movies. It did look like the camera was bouncing up and down in one scene, but that fit in with what was going on at that time.

There were several people involved in kidnaping Jessica. They didn’t hesitate to use violence. Greer threatened Jessica more than once. There were some fights and shootings. Blood was shed a few times. I didn’t think the movie that was violent, but some people may feel differently. There were a few things that were shown that were a bit disturbing to see. There was an explosion at one point as well. People who don’t like to see any kind of violence in movies should stay away from this one.

When Jessica was locked in the attic, Greer smashed the phone with a sledge hammer. Somehow, even though the phone was in pieces, there was a dial tone. Jessica started to work with the pieces of the phone hooking up wires trying to make a call, which she was able to do. The way she got the phone to work was a little unbelievable. She was a science teacher, but she taught biology. Her knowledge in that area would help her later in the movie. With the phone, I wasn’t sure if she just started working with it because she was desperate to get out of her situation and lucked into getting it to work or if she had some prior knowledge about electronics and phones. What really seemed unbelievable out of that situation is that enough of the phone survived and was still useable. It started out mounted on a post, and then landed on the floor after being hit. I still haven’t figured out how the wires made it to the floor with the phone. Later in the movie, Ryan encountered a problem. He just happened to be near a place that would help him with his problem. Those were just little things and they didn’t make me like the movie any less.

There were a few things that made me laugh some and lightened the mood. Early in the movie, Ryan was trying to get to a certain place by a certain time. He encountered some traffic and the car ahead of him was driving slow. When Ryan passed, he yelled out the window for that person to get off their cell phone and pay attention to their driving. He then returned to talking to Jessica on his own cell phone. Jessica’s son was named Ricky. His last name was Martin too, so he had the same name as a famous person. Ryan couldn’t believe that someone would have named a child that, and Jessica explained he was born before the singer Ricky Martin became so famous. That name, and Ryan’s reaction to it did make me laugh as well. Mooney and his wife were going to open a day spa. She had him testing products with her, so at one point, he had some sort of mask on his face. It cracked me up to see him sitting there with his face covered in green goop. The movie was serious, but it wasn’t meant to make people think after watching it. It is meant to be watched just for mindless entertainment. People looking for that sort of movie may enjoy Cellular.

I was disappointed that William H. Macy didn’t have a bigger part. He did end up being important to the resolution, but he wasn’t given much to do throughout the movie. He did well with what he had to work with. I did like his character even though he wasn’t developed too much. He was leaving the force to open a day spa, but he still had his instincts. Macy was believable in the part. It wasn’t as compelling or complex of a character as he played in The Cooler, but he still gave a good performance. I thought that Kim Basinger did a good job with her part as well. She did spend a lot of time teary and shaking, but that was believable for the situation her character was in. Jason Statham was good as Greer. The character was very different from the one he played in The Italian Job. I haven’t seen Chris Evans in any other movies before this one. He gave a good performance as well. He was shown without his shirt when he first turned up in the movie. He was in very good shape and I was a tad disappointed when he put his shirt on. Jessica Biel turned up briefly as Chloe. She only had two or three scenes in the movie, so she had very little to do. She seemed fine in the part, but I think just about anyone would have been fine in the part. The young boy that played Ricky, Adam Taylor Gordon, didn't have many scenes. He was fine in the part. He wasn't whiney or annoying. He played one of the children in Cheaper by the Dozen.

CHARACTERS

Jessica Martin - Science teacher and mother. She was kidnaped and had no idea why. She wanted to protect her son and her husband. She managed to make a call and got someone willing to help her.

Craig and Ricky - Craig was Jessica’s husband and Ricky was their son. Craig worked in real estate.

Ryan - Young man that received Jessica’s call for help. He thought it was a joke at first, but then he heard things that convinced him it was for real.

Mooney - Police man that was going to retire after twenty-six years to open a day spa with his wife. He still had good instincts, which got him involved in what was going on with Ryan and Jessica.

Greer - One of the kidnapers. He seemed to be in charge of what was going on. He wasn’t a nice man.

CAST

Kim Basinger - Jessica Martin
Chris Evans - Ryan
William H. Macy - Mooney
Jessica Biel - Chloe
Jason Statham - Greer
Richard Burgi - Craig Martin
Adam Taylor Gordon - Ricky Martin

Cellular was released in September of 2004. The movie was 94 minutes long and rated PG-13. This isn’t a movie for young children. There was some swearing in the movie. The word that rhymes with luck was used once or twice.

I enjoyed Cellular. I thought it was entertaining and I’m glad I saw it. A few things about the movie could have been better, but it was still good. I did like it more than I did
Paparazzi.

Related Reviews
The Italian Job ~ Cheaper by the Dozen ~


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