Thursday, August 15, 2013


I do not own the above image.  Copyright Relativity Media. All right reserved.

par·a·noi·a   [par-uh-noi-uh]
1. Psychiatry. A mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions and the projection of personal conflicts, which are ascribed to the supposed hostility of others, sometimes progressing to disturbances of consciousness and aggressive acts believed to be performed in self-defense or as a mission.

2. baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others.

            Above is the definition of paranoia.  PARANOIA has little to do with paranoia.  Sure Adam (Hemsworth) is paranoid for about 10 minutes in the second-to-third act bridge, but not nearly enough for PARANOIA.
            Adam has just lost his & 4 co-workers’ jobs at Wyatt Corporation.  After a night out on the town with a company credit card, Adam is “rehired” by Wyatt (Oldman) to commit corporate by spying on rival Eikon, run by Wyatt’s frenemy Jock Goddard (Ford).  To complicate things, one of Adam’s co-workers is Emma (Heard), his one night stand during his night out.
            Cutting to the chase, PARANOIA is the worst kind of movie: a boring movie.  Name a cliché and this movie has it.  Kinetic dance club scene?  Check.  Seeing the love interest across a loud, crowded room?  Yes.  Shady guy in a track suit in a bar scene?  Of course.  Bedroom scenes where they cover themselves up as to retain the PG-13 rating?  Si.  God awful dialogue?  During all 100 minutes.
            PARANOIA has little to offer in the relationship department.  The best one is Hemsworth/Dreyfuss as father/son, but since everyone over 30 is phoning it in, it’s nothing to write online about.  Oldman’s Wyatt is written so blandly that even he despises himself and Ford’s Goddard has a weird thing going with his cell phones.  Heard’s Emma is nothing more than set decoration.  She & Hemsworth are a couple simply because they are the two prettiest & horniest people on screen.
            I have to say it: Liam Hemsworth, unlike older brother Chris, is not leading man material.  He’s not Taylor Lautner terrible, but there is nothing there beyond average line delivery & facial expressions.  Hemsworth is who he will always be know as: third-fiddle to JLaw & JHutch in THE HUNGER GAMES.
            I spent the entire movie wondering who was paranoid to satisfy the title.  It’s obviously not Wyatt or Goddard.  What do the villains have to be worried about?  Sure Adam’s dad is worried about his emphysema, but paranoid, not really.  Adam’s BFF?  He’s a throwaway character, so no.  As I said before, Emma is completely useless, so not her.
It has to be Adam.  But Adam only freaks out after finding out the apartment Wyatt gives him is bugged like Fort Knox.  But what about when Wyatt tells him he knew Adam spent $1,600 in one night?  Or the time Adam was discovered in the middle of New York by Wyatt to escort him to the “interview”?  Maybe the “answer my calls without exception” rule would have raised red flags.  At the very least, the realization that Wyatt KNEW HIS EVERY MOVE AND WAS LISTENING TO EVERY WORD AND INFULTRATED HIS HOUSE would be the tipping point.  Nope, the Big Brother apartment crossed the line.  Then, all is mostly forgotten after one scene in the park.  That is, of course, if it isn’t the audience who suffers.  Were we duped into seeing another bad, would-be star making movie?  Maybe I’ve been suffering from paranoia for almost a decade…
So why a half star instead of zero?  To quote Richard Roeper reviewing THE HOT CHICK, “It’s in color.  And it’s mostly in focus.”  The cliché record keeping was a blast in retrospect.
            PARANOIA is like a car you can win on The Price is Right.  There is just enough story to be considered a movie.  But if you’re looking for any “extras” like power windows or any actual thrills, you’re out of luck.


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