Marrieds at the Movies: Is the Thriller 'Paranoia' a Good Date-Night Movie?

Every Friday night, Movies.com sends cinephiles (and newlyweds) Sarah and Joe Piccirillo to see a film. Afterwards, they answer a few questions about it. Below is their discussion.

 

Paranoia

Synopsis: Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) is tired of toiling away unnoticed while corporate fat cats rake in all the dough. After making a bad choice one night, he is caught up in a world of blackmail and corporate espionage. With Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman and Amber Heard.

 

Was this a good date movie?

Sarah: No, because any time the lead couple was on-screen, time seemed to move backward. The early stages of a relationship should be exciting. These scenes were so boring, they had me playing with the zipper on my sweatshirt.

Joe: But is chemistry necessary for a good date movie?

Sarah: Not always, but in a movie that offers little else, sexy on-screen banter can charm you and put you into a good mood.

Joe: I guess that’s true. Chemistry is something you think about only when it’s not there. It’s the difference between attractiveness and sexiness. Hemsworth and Heard are pretty, but nothing about their pairing was exciting. Even their sex scene was boring.  


How was the casting?

Sarah: I can’t figure out why so many big names are in this movie.

Joe: They probably wanted to work with Robert Luketic – he directed Legally Blonde and, of course, Titsiana Booberini.

Sarah: Somehow, I’m not sure that’s it.

Joe: Cash?

Sarah: That might be it. Richard Dreyfuss turns in a hammy performance as Adam’s underachieving salt-of-the-earth ailing dad.

Joe: It was weird, because he played the role without any intelligence or gravitas, which is the only thing this part calls for. Usually, the father figure emerges late in the third act to impart some wisdom to his misguided son – I’m thinking of Martin Sheen’s parallel role in Wall Street -- inspiring the son and the audience and drawing a line in the sand about morality. In this movie, when it’s Dreyfuss’ turn to speak up, he fails to deliver anything meaningful. It’s a script problem but also a Dreyfuss problem.

Sarah: Harrison Ford gave the strongest performance, while Gary Oldman got tied up with an unfortunate accent and Emma Caulfield was wasted in a role that hinted at Machiavellian intelligence but petered out prematurely. Expectations are high with a cast like this, and the movie didn’t even come close to meeting them.

Joe: Except for Hemsworth -- the new Paul Walker – from whom I expected nothing. He delivered. But you’re right. I expected a huge plot twist from Caulfield’s character and was dismayed when she was essentially given the vaudevillian “pulled offstage by a cane” treatment.

What drove you nuts?

Joe: Why are Adam and his dad watching a Little League game when they don’t know anyone playing in it?

Sarah: The simplicity. “Trust is the Holy Grail of espionage.” Duh.

Joe: The fact that Adam’s “revolutionary” idea is pretty stupid. A phone displayed on my TV? How am I supposed to watch Bones?

Sarah: How Adam and Emma's scenes were shot in slo-mo even though they were painfully dull in regular-mo.

Joe: How Hemsworth’s character has to “pretend” to be skilled at playing a rich, arrogant douchebag when his actions throughout show that’s who he actually is.

Sarah: How I could never figure out if Adam was the smartest guy in the room or the dumbest.

What will you be thinking about tomorrow?

Joe: There’s no moral center to the movie. It believes that a handsome kid with drive but no discernible talent automatically deserves success. The real genius in the film isn’t Adam but his virginal geek friend, but the movie argues that it’s in the geek’s best interest to supply Adam with all the answers rather than to stand up for himself. It’s like the movie was written by a high school jock about his relationship with the nerd who did homework for the entire team.

Sarah: The movie invests time in making the audience believe that privacy is impossible and that there are so many ways of tracking people that they can never escape. Bugs are everywhere. Then, when the story needs to wrap up, all that surveillance seems pretty easy to evade. It was much more like Arachnophobia than Wall Street.

Verdict

Joe: Skip it. Rent Wall Street.

Sarah: Skip it.

 

Sarah and Joe are writers/editors who live in Boston. They met in a bar and married within a year. They love to argue about early Woody Allen films and old romantic comedies. They both agree to hate musicals.

 

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