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Cellular

We'll start this review in the increasingly standard way by saying we didn't have high hopes for this film when we walked into it. We hadn't heard anything about it for one thing other than that Kim Basinger was starring and we'd not seen enough of her lately to be sure she hadn't arrived at a stage in her career where she is just happy to have work. Jason Statham is a bad ass obviously but we also knew the whole thing had something to do with cellular phones which annoy us already on a daily basis so the thought of sitting through a film where they played a central part in the plot sounded more like work than entertainment. Anyway, we walked into it, for whatever reason, and were surprised to find a couple hours later that we were walking out and hadn't even taken the time to think whether we were enjoying ourselves or not. We guess that means it was either pretty good or at least not terrible. Thinking back it was mediocre at best but at least it held our attention and kept us out of the bars for another night.

The film's action starts fast when Basinger, (who, to her credit, looks like a real, albeit more attractive then average, 52 year old woman these days instead of a plastic surgeon's ad campaign), playing a high school science teacher with a young son, gets suddenly kidnapped by a gang of cosmopolitan looking toughs who toss her in an attic and let it be known in no uncertain terms that they mean business. One of the things they do to this end is smash a phone (traditional dial not cellular) that is inches from her head with a sledge hammer just on the off chance she was thinking about using it to call for help. She is a resourceful women however and is able to reconnect some of the wires to get a dial tone and click them together to connect with a random outside number. She reaches a young surfer dude played by Chris Evans who is in the middle of trying to convince his girlfriend Jessica Biel (caution: link may contain nudity) that he has turned over a new leaf. So begins an unlikely association between a desperate woman and a guy who's biggest worry only moments before was whether to wax his board or head to IN-N-OUT for a burger. He proves to be a good wholesome kid however and battles incredible odds to keep Kim on the line and help Kim and her family out of the mess they got themselves into when Kim's husband took an illicit video.

Everything about the plot is a bit unbelievable of course but the actors, especially the ones with small supporting roles, serve to make the film a touch more credible and enjoyable than average and push it above the line of standard fare. University of Arizona graduate Rick Hoffman (right) almost steals the show by himself as a lawyer who's car Evans is forced to commandeer in order to keep up the pursuit. Eric Christian Olsen is also good as Evan's surf buddy and Noah Emmerich does well as a top brass in the police department. 

The reason the movie ultimately succeeds however is that Basinger is believable as a traumatized woman and Evans as a no worries but good hearted young man who gets sucked into high drama and seems to behave in a real way as he battles through it. If you're of the school, by the way, that thinks Basinger is just another model turned actress, you should rent Fool for Love or LA Confidential sometime. She could always act and perhaps failed relationships with Alec Baldwin and Prince taught her a thing or two about anguish and drama that help to make her extra convincing here. We at the Goliard had always liked her because she seemed real, comfortable with her body and self, and not given to Hollywood b.s. as much as most. We don't know all that much about her personally but think we would like her if we knew her. Anyway, William H. Macy, who we think we would like also, plays a cop on the way out of the job who is thinking about opening a day spa with his wife but gets drawn into one last case and gives his standard strong performance.

Cellular phones are obviously changing our culture so it was only a matter of time before a movie exploiting that fact reared it's head. When you think about it, it's surprising that it took so long but, despite moments in this film when it feels like an advertisement for Nokia, this film does ok with the whole thing. So turn off your damn ringers for a couple hours and sit back and enjoy the show.

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