Sunday, September 19, 2004

Cellular (IMDB) (Netflix)
Cell phone technology is the bane of an action movie screenwriter's existence—communication solves too many problems too easily. So somehow they have to be written out of the script through a variety of devices—breakage and weak signals being the favorites. Here, the phone is a central character—a not particularly reliable character, but that just makes it more interesting. With Kim Basinger as the lady in distress, Chris Evans (nope, never heard of him either) getting his big break as the guy who answers his phone once too often and William H. Macy as the ready-to-retire cop.

Evans's character starts out a callow, irresponsible youth, and will probably be an instant recidivist once this is all over, but during the movie he eventually and fairly entertainingly rises to the challenge. Basinger pulls off that tricky balance between victim and resourceful woman (apparently it pays to be a biology teacher in these situations), and Macy is his usual hang-dog charmer self. One of those B movies that knows it's a B movie, and the better for it.