WRITTEN BY: Jason Dean Hall and Barry Levy
DIRECTED BY: Robert Luketic
The question about Paranoia lies in how such a strong cast could have read this script and decided to make this movie? I know why the movie sucks. Director Robert Luketic is one of the most inconsistent directors in Hollywood, riding off the success of Legally Blonde. He followed that up with Win A Date With Tad Hamilton, Monster In Law, The Ugly Truth, 21, and Killers. All of which are medicore at best. My next concern is that Jason Dean Hall has been hired to write the buzzy American Sniper (which Steven Spielberg was once attached to direct).
Paranoia stars Liam Hemsworth as some kind of cell-phone engineer, who works for a big cell-phone tech company with his friends (the one with the most screentime is Lucas Till). They go in and pitch their big idea to the head of the company (Gary Oldman), who doesn’t think their pitch is revolutionary, and fires them. Liam goes off and parties on the company dollar, and Oldman wants him to pay that money back. So he blackmails Liam into working at another company, so he can steal trade secrets. This is how Amber Heard and Harrison Ford come into play. Liam feels obligated to do this, because his dad, Richard Dreyfuss, was a hard working man and now is being supported by his son.
Things go awry. Things aren’t what they seem. Shit hits the fan. But, none of it is ever unpredictable. There’s no twist you won’t see coming a mile away. In fact, you might not even have to even see the movie to plot out the 2nd half. Amber Heard even inexplicably forgives Liam at the end, even though he lied about everything to her. Because the movie needed everything wrapped up with a nice bow at the end. The problem with Paranoia is that it doesn’t take any risks, or tread new ground. It feels like a blended version of 200 films you’ve seen before. Quite possibly the only reason to watch the film would be the casting trifecta of Oldman, Ford, and Dreyfuss.
The sheer presence of these men in the film keep me from failing the film altogether. Oldman is great at his “obvious villain” role. Ford is a nice counter to him as a “am I bad, or am I good?”. And Dreyfuss rounds out the main ensemble as Liam’s horny old father, who still has some good advice to hand out on occasion. Some films are terrible, and have no redeeming qualities. Paranoia is terrible, but has three redeeming qualities. As far as Liam Hemsworth as a leading man… I think he can do it, I just think this is the wrong movie. Look, Channing Tatum overcame shittastic movies like Fighting, so Liam Hemsworth should be fine moving past Paranoia. And Amber Heard? Does anyone ever buy her as a smart person? Ever?
I really can’t recommend this movie on any level, but if you’re stuck watching it for some reason, at least three of the actors are pretty good. So, there’s something.
FINAL GRADE: D+