Three great, known actors are cast in supporting roles. It helps and also hurts Paranoia. Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman are cast as former friends and business partners, as the rival owners of two high-tech development corporations. Richard Dreyfuss is the hero's dad.
What helps is they're in the movie. What hurts is they're not in the movie enough. More on that later.
Liam Hemsworth (Hunger Games) is Adam Cassidy. Hunky and handsome like his Thor brother Chris, Hemsworth's Adam is ambitious and thwarted in that ambition by -- for lack of a better way to put it -- his ambition. During a presentation to Oldman's Nicholas Wyatt, he manages to tick off his boss and gets himself and his friends fired.
They go out on a last bender with the corporate credit card and spend many thousands of dollars. It gives the moralless Wyatt an edge, and he threatens to arrest Adam and his friends for theft unless Adam agrees to become a corporate spy and steal a hot, new techno device from Ford's rival Jock Goddard.
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On the night of drunken fun, Adam connects with the emotionally distant Emma Jennings (Amber Heard) who "just happens" to be one of the up-and coming-stars of Goddard's firm.
Paranoia has three major problems. We start with the previously mentioned Ford, Oldman and Dreyfuss who are not in the movie enough. There is a confrontation scene between Ford and Oldman that is worth the price of admission. The tension is palpable, and the two actors are electric.
It's the movie's best scene.
Ford, somewhere between the lame films he did in the 1990s and this year, has become a good actor. He gave the year's best male performance to date in 42 and is awesome here. Ford's natural delivery helps him appear as the boss we'd all like to have.
Oldman is naturally unlikeable in about everything. Here, he gets to keep his British accent for a change. It's a nice switch and he's, as always, the perfect villain.
Dreyfuss is a natural, scene-stealing pro who is given absolutely nothing to do but be the cantankerous, unmanageable but ultimately wise dad.
The corporate spy thing kind of works, but director Robert Luketic and his first-time major screenplay writer Jason Hall and Barry Levy (Vantage Point) predictably travel already charted territory. You never worry about Adam getting caught until the climax or that Wyatt's henchmen are going to hurt him.
To his credit, Luketic (21, Legally Blonde) does manage to infuse a couple of pretty intense data-stealing scenes. More of that would have helped. And then there's the romance. Just like most of Paranoia, it is so predictable.
Hemsworth, Heard and the film's other pretty people are pretty much interchangeable with actors in the same age group. None of them is particularly impressive. It's the three old pros that make Paranoia worth the price of the ticket.
Director: Robert Luketic
Stars: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Richard Dreyfuss, Liam Hemsworth, Amber Heard, Embeth Davidtz
Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes, violence and some language. It is playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.