Cellular David R. Ellis

Cellular David R. Ellis
Thrillers don't come more generic or perfunctory than this listless chase film starring the humble cell phone. Kim Basinger plays a wife and mother who's been kidnapped by unknown dodgy types; managing to repair a shattered phone, she calls a random number and winds up pleading for help to young innocent Chris Evans. Evans must figure out where she is while eluding various roaming/battery/tunnel/reception issues, but although the script can be ingenious in cooking up cell-phone madness, that's where all praise for it ends. Evans's part has no substance, Basinger is done in by her hysterical woman part and William H. Macy is completely wasted in a retiring-cop subplot largely lifted from Falling Down (no masterpiece itself). All this could be forgiven if the film had any sense of style, but David R. Ellis is no von Sternberg: he's a journeyman hack who keeps things moving with no real sense of what it all means, winding up intensifying the banality of the script with his refusal to impose a theme on the material. It's not a painful film, just a useless triviality that goes in one eye and out the other with no real payoff; unless you count the myriad bikini-clad extras and what must be the most orderly skinhead brawl in the history of film. Extras include a cutesy commentary where Ellis makes cell calls to various participants (you'll especially enjoy it when he asks one crew member what they're having for lunch), the usual ditzy "making of" featurette, a couple of documentaries on telecommunications and the LAPD corruption scandal that far outshine the feature. There are also five deleted scenes, a DVD-Rom script-to-screen comparison, a DVD-Rom photo gallery, and some weblinks. (Alliance Atlantis)