Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hayden is hot, his movies are not.

Hold on. What’s that strange, sneaking feeling coming over me? Help, help. I’m feeling underwhelmed.

Jumper could have been so cool. Based on Steven Gould’s novel of the same title, the trailers flashed intense action scenes, Hayden Christensen (my first great love) naturally radiates intensity, and the plot sounded so intriguing; especially after Samuel L. Jackson’s tag line on the previews.

“Only God should have the power to be all places at once.” Snore.

Alas, I’m left at my computer with my bootlegged edition of this “thriller” wishing I’d dozed off halfway through. At least that way I could say that the part I missed was (probably) sweet. I just sat through 90 minutes of cinema, waiting for the movie to climax and praying that there would be another almost enticing sex scene to spice things up.

Somebody draw the requisite question mark above my head. I am puzzled. Why am I feeling so let down?

Let’s run down the basics. David Rice (Christensen) has some sort of biological “defect” that allows him to teleport to any place that he’s ever seen a picture of. (“Defect”? More like gentically kick-ass.) I had just settled in from the previews when I watched our jumper Hayden eat lunch on the head of the Sphinx next to his surfboard, and then I saw him chilling on the face of Big Ben, admiring the view. I was convinced he was going to be some sort of hipster superhero.

Because he robbed a set of banks at age 15 by teleporting into their respective safes, he’s loaded, he hangs out at the Seven World Wonders, and he’s beautiful. David’s got it made.

But trouble is a-brewing in seventh heaven: idyllic lifestyle, meet conflict. Number one: David is being hunted by a tunnel-visioned, pissed-off Samuel Jackson, who wants to electrocute him. Jackson’s ornery character is topped off by the fact that he runs around yelling profound things like, “You think you can go on like this forever? Living like this with no consequences? There are always consequences!” Number two: David’s macking on Rachel Bilson, but he totally doesn’t want her to know about how awesome he is. Shame.

That’s it. Our conflicts are brought in too soon, and the plot develops, um, never. Critical points advance too fast, and it’s never clear why Jackson’s character has such a vested interest in ruining David’s life. Even the movie’s multiple action scenes can’t save the fact that it is shallow and disappointing.

And try as I might, not even Hayden’s pretty face is enough to make me like his character that much. He rarely does anything good with his special power; in fact, he robs banks, breaks into the Coliseum, teleports random strangers into the desert and threatens to drop others off the face of Mt. Everest.

It seems our hero is having problems trying to figure out how to use his peculiar gift. Ah, the classic tale of a blessing that has become a curse and a burden. Must be rough, traveling for free. Granted, I don’t have a grouchy black man and his army of trench coat-clad witch hunters trying to taser me for no reason, but David’s being downright selfish. After meeting fellow-jumper Griffin (Jamie Bell), David more or less forces Griffin to help him save his quasi-girlfriend when it is clear that they’re outnumbered.

High points involved a Mercedes SL teleporting out of a showroom and whooshing into traffic. All the stuff included in the trailer was the best that this picture had to offer, and I can only watch stunt doubles and baffling one-liners for so long.

I’m sorry I’m not sorry, but I should lower the bar for this film for anyone who thought it looked enticing. It had fleeting moments of waning potential, but I’m filing this one with the flameouts.

-Ann, who also happens to wish she was a Spice Girl


susan said...

amazing use of the phrase "I’m sorry I’m not sorry" -- pretty much the theme of my life.

Ann said...

that was for you.