by M. Faust
They say that records are made to be broken, but you don’t always want to be the one doing the breaking. Case in point: I’m sure the people behind Paranoia were not happy to read in the trade press that their film just broke two records, one for the worst opening of the year and the other for the worst ever opening weekend of a Harrison Ford movie.
What’s that, you say? You hadn’t heard that there was a new Harrison Ford film in theaters? And with Gary Oldman, too? Well, there’s a reason you didn’t now about it. The distributor did next to nothing to promote it. Add that to the fact that it opened during the end-of-summer doldrums when studios traditionally dump their dogs, and you come to the inevitable conclusion that they knew they had a turkey on their hands here. By not telling you about it, they did you a favor.
Ford and Oldman only have supporting roles, as tech billionaires battling for the soul of Liam Hemsworth. If the name only vaguely rings a bell, you may be thinking of his brother Chris, who plays superhero Thor in various Marvel-derived films. Master Liam plays Adam, a corporate drone who can’t catch a break. CEO Oldman blackmails him into going to work for his rival (Ford) so he can spy on the new gadget he has in development.
The story is serviceable enough, but someone along the line didn’t bother to fill in any of the details that would make this kind of thing believable. A staff behaviorist transforms Adam from a Brooklyn dreamer into someone who can pass for a corporate executive in what appears to be a weekend. The ending has no tension because we don’t understand the technology in play that is enabling Adam and his friends to best the bad guys.
It’s all a vehicle for Hemsworth. Where director Robert Luketic (whose career has been downhill since his debut, Legally Blonde) should be tightening the noose as Adam gets deeper into trouble, he instead offers us pointless shots of his star shirtless and playing kissy face with love interest Amber Heard. Still, maybe he knows what he’s going after all: The young fans of Hemsworth’s major claim to fame, The Hunger Games, are the only ones likely not to realize or care what a shoddy excuse for a thriller this movie is.
Watch the trailer for Paranoia
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