Suspect nothing much from 'Paranoia'
By Roger Moore
Published: Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, 7:42 p.m.
“Paranoia” is the perfect name for a thriller about how our smartphones are outsmarting us. Sadly, it is as slow, slick and superficial as the director of “21” and “Killers” can make it.
Liam Hemsworth is Adam Cassidy, a low-level apps innovator bribed and blackmailed into corporate espionage by one cell phone mogul — Gary Oldman — into stealing from his old mentor, another mogul (Harrison Ford).
Amber Heard is the dishy marketing guru Adam must betray. Richard Dreyfuss is the sickly father always dozing through ballgames who is the reason Adam is desperate for cash.
The story, based on a Joseph Finder novel, takes a very long time to get up to speed. There's all this thinly atmospheric filler about surveillance — the ways our phones track us, the “security” that they provide and that is so easily hacked, the sinister people misusing all this data.
One of the nifty plot devices is Adam's unheralded gift for instantly figuring out the pass code to any phone he picks up, handy when you're infiltrating a paranoid corporation whose latest phone innovation will “start a revolution.”
The laziest scripts on Earth over-explain themselves, starting with redundant voice-over narration and finishing with the weariest truisms, bromides and rules to live by.
Director Robert Luketic's team flashes the cash in this heady world Adam infiltrates — stunning apartments, collectible sports cars, designer clothes, exotic offices with sci-fi-level security systems.
Which Adam, who is fired for being a third-rate thinker at one cellphone company, somehow figures out how to foil, on his way to tidying up this messy double-and-triple-dealing tale with a nice bow at the end.
Roger Moore reviews movies for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
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