What parents need to know
Positive role models
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Paranoia is a corporate espionage thriller. There are no fights or blood, but characters are involved in plenty of tense chases and threats. One character is deliberately run over by a car, but he survives and is shown later with only a leg brace and a scratch on his cheek. The main character is shown shirtless as often as possible and has implied sex with a female character, but there's no actual nudity. As for language, "f--k" is said once, and "s--t" is used a couple of times. Characters are shown drinking socially throughout the movie, though they're rarely drunk. One character smokes a cigar. Some teen girls may want to ogle Hunger Games co-star Liam Hemsworth, but otherwise there's not much worth seeing here.
What's the story?
Working in a high-tech company, Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) and his friends bank their entire futures on a presentation to their boss, Nicolas Wyatt (Gary Oldman) ... and wind up losing their jobs. This is doubly hard for Adam, who's taking care of his sick father (Richard Dreyfuss). After a night partying with the company credit card, Adam is given two choices: go to jail, or go to work for Wyatt's competitor (and former mentor) Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford) as a corporate spy. Adam is charged with stealing some important new technology, and the only way to do that is to snatch the ID of a co-worker, Emma Jennings (Amber Heard). The trouble is that he and Emma have fallen in love. Can Adam stop all the backstabbing and clear his good name?
Is it any good?
PARANOIA director Robert Luketic also made the somewhat similar card-counting thriller 21, which also centered on the "selling your soul to the devil" theme. But while 21 had an interesting team dynamic and some fun characters, Paranoia isn't so blessed. To start, it's difficult to believe Hemsworth as a guy who might work in the technology business; he just doesn't sell the part. And, worse, the character is so poorly written that he comes across as flat-out dumb in scene after scene (such as searching for a hidden camera in his silverware drawer). Clearly Luketic is more interested in showing the actor shirtless.
The rest of the great cast (Ford, Oldman, Dreyfuss, and Heard) is somehow completely lifeless, perhaps because they're all asked to play opposite Hemsworth, rather than each other. The plot isn't just routine but also totally nonsensical and illogical. No amount of "suspension of disbelief" can save this movie.
Families can talk about...
- Families can talk about the "selling your soul to the devil" theme. How classic is this story? What does it really mean? What other ways can it be applied?
- How relevant is Paranoia's concept about getting a job and becoming successful? Does hard work pay off? Or are stealing and backstabbing required?
Why is drinking such a part of this corporate world?
- Why does the movie show the main character shirtless so often? What does this say about male body image?