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Review published
September 15, 2004
A.J.'s Rating:  3 B-Movie Stars
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    Ryan just got a new cell phone. It's one of those sporty little models that does virtually everything. With it, he can take photos, record videos, go online, and, believe it or not, even receive phone calls! One of those calls turns out to be from Jessica Martin.  She's been kidnapped and needs help right away.
    Ryan, played by Chris Evans, and Jessica, played by Kim Bassinger, have never met. In fact, it was by pure chance that she was able to contact him. You see, she's calling from a telephone that's been smashed to pieces by her abductors.  Amazingly, she was able to partially reassemble it, clicking together exposed wires in a desperate attempt to make a random local connection. Good thing she's a science teacher!  
    What follows is a race against time, as Ryan must find help for Jessica before more harm can come to her. Did I mention Jessica's young son?  He's in danger, too.  And, to make matters worse, Jessica has no idea where she is being held.  If Ryan should lose contact with her, all will be lost. 
    Cellular is action, thrills, and drama in the classic B-movie tradition. No character development required! As with most B-movies, the entire story depends on an incredibly unlikely premise and incredibly stupid villians. Let's see... we've kidnapped this woman and need to lock her up somewhere. Hey, I know! How about the attic, you know, the one with the telephone! Should we unplug the phone and take it out of the room? No, let's smash it with a sledge hammer, right in front of her, then leave the broken pieces. That'll show her who's boss. And then we'll tie her up so she can't escape, right? Mmm... nah!
    Kim Basinger and Chris Evans both turn in cheesy, overly melodramatic performances, which, in this movie, is not a bad thing. Slightly less cheesy is William H. Macy, who turns up in a great supporting role as veteran police sergeant Mooney. Originally of little help to Ryan, a wild hunch sets Mooney onto the trail of Jessica's kidnappers, as well. Ahh, a cop with a hunch... does it get any better than that?  A very cool plot-wrinkle is that Ryan and Mooney are both working toward the same goal, but throughout most of the film, aren't working together. Their parallel storylines blend surprisingly well, considering the fast pace of the movie.
    So, if you can get past Cellular's absurd set-up, there is much fun to be had!  In fact, the story plays a lot like an entire season of the television show 24, squashed down into 90 minutes, and doing away with most of that bothersome... suspense. Put simply, Cellular offers plenty of white-knuckle entertainment, providing, of course, that you remember to turn your brain (and your cell phone) off the second it begins.
Directed By: David R. Ellis
Written By: Larry Cohen (story) / Chris Morgan (screenplay)
Starring: Kim Basinger,Chris Evans, Jason Statham, William H. Macy

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for violence, terror situations, language and some sexual references.