A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
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 it 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.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: September 10, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: 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
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.