Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldman, Amber Heard, Harrison Ford, Lucas Till, Embeth Davidtz, Julian McMahon, Josh Holloway, Richard Dreyfuss, Angela Sarafyan, William Peltz, Kevin Kilner, Christine Marzano, Charlie Hofheimer, Mark Moses
Written by: Jason Dean Hall, Barry L. Levy, based on a novel by Joseph Finder
Directed by: Robert Luketic
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexuality, violence and language
Running Time: 106
Date: 08/16/2013
IMDB

Paranoia (2013)

1 Star (out of 4)

Office Spaced

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Paranoia director Robert Luketic also made the somewhat similar card-counting thriller 21, which also centered on the "selling-your-soul-to-the-devil" theme. But whereas 21 had an interesting team dynamic and some fun characters, Paranoia isn't so blessed.

Working in a high-tech company, Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) and his friends bank their entire futures on a presentation to their boss, Nicolas Wyatt (Gary Oldman), but wind up losing their jobs. This is doubly hard for Adam, who is taking care of his sick father (Richard Dreyfuss). After a night partying with the company credit card, Adam is given two choices: go to jail, or go to work for Wyatt's competitor (and former mentor) Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford) as a corporate spy. He's charged with stealing some important new technology, and the only way to do that is to snatch the ID of a co-worker, Emma Jennings (Amber Heard). The trouble is: he and Emma have fallen in love. Can Adam stop all the backstabbing and clear his good name?

To start, it's difficult to believe Liam Hemsworth as a guy who might work in the technology business; he seems more like a jock. Worse, the character is so poorly written that he comes across as flat-out dumb in scene after scene (such as searching for a hidden camera in his silverware drawer). Clearly Luketic is more interested in showing the actor shirtless. The rest of the great cast is somehow completely lifeless, perhaps because they're all asked to play opposite Hemsworth, rather than each other. The plot is not only routine, but also totally nonsensical and illogical. No amount of "suspension of disbelief" can save this movie.

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