Cellular

(i)

 

So-so thriller that is too intense for tweens.
  • Review Date: January 17, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 92 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence

Extreme tension and peril, characters killed, mother and child in peril.

Sex

Some sexual references.

Language

Some strong language at the edge of the PG-13 rating.

Consumerism

Intrusive product placement for cell phone company.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

References to drug dealers.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this thriller has strong language for a PG-13, references to drug dealers, and a lot of tension, peril, and violence. A mother and her child are in peril and characters are killed.

What's the story?

Kim Basinger plays Jessica, a loving mother and high school science teacher who is abruptly kidnapped from her luxurious Brentwood mansion after dropping her son at the school bus. They leave her in an empty attic, smashing the phone with a sledgehammer. But she is a science teacher, so she McGyvers the bits together and clicks the wires until it randomly dials some number which fortunately happens to be a cell phone that is right in the neighborhood. The guy who answers is Ryan (played by unmemorable Chris Evans). Ryan realizes Jessica is telling the truth and after a half-hearted attempt to get some help from the police, decides he will rescue her.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

This serviceable little thriller suffers even more than most from the dreaded "none of this would have happened if our hero had even made one logical choice" syndrome, but more than makes up for it with its brisk pace (less than 90 minutes long) and the satisfyingly clever use of some of today's most universal annoyances: people who blare loud rap music from their cars, cell phone dropped connections; obnoxiously unhelpful salespeople; cell phone battery failures; arrogant people in ostentatious sports cars; and cell phones that ring at the wrong time.

Ryan's behavior for the first 2/3 of CELLULAR is so purely idiotic that there is no room left over to feel much tension or indeed any emotion other than irritation at the complete failure of logic or intelligence by just about every character except for Mrs. Wizard up there in the attic. Once it gets going, though, there are some clever twists and pleasurable thrills, mostly provided by the always-watchable William H. Macy as a cop named Mooney who is just about to retire to run a day spa. The result is a silly summer thriller somehow languishing as a fall release.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what Jessica's husband should have done that could have prevented much of what happened and why Moon did not give up.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 10, 2004
DVD release date:January 18, 2005
Cast:Jessica Biel, Kim Basinger, William H. Macy
Director:David R. Ellis
Studio:New Line
Genre:Thriller
Run time:92 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:violence, terror situations, language and some sexual references

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bytommysportsgirl April 9, 2008
Adult Written byRachel D April 9, 2008

Fast paced thriller

I had never heard of this one but it was an enjoyable fast paced thriller that left me satisfied. Actually makes you think about this world of technology and someone being willing to help another. The alternate ending on DVD was better than the actual though!
Teen, 16 years old Written byktk1992 April 9, 2008

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