“I wanted more,” says ambitious young Adam Cassidy at the start of the thriller “Paranoia,” explaining how he got caught in a web of deceit. Watching this movie, I know how he feels.
Based on the Joseph Finder novel, “Paranoia” has a promising foundation — betrayal, danger and corporate espionage are solid building blocks of suspense. But the movie is more exasperating than exciting.
Liam Hemsworth (“The Hunger Games”), who is extremely pretty but whom nobody will confuse with Ryan Gosling come Oscar night, plays Adam, who lives with his ailing father (Richard Dreyfuss) in Brooklyn. Adam toils in obscurity at a tech company and can’t get in the high-end clubs (though he might have a better shot without his hoodie).
DIRECTED BY: Robert Luketic
STARRING: Liam Hemsworth, Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Amber Heard, Josh Holloway, Julian McMahon
RATED: PG-13 GRADE: C
RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes
But Adam has plans to wow his CEO Nicolas Wyatt (Gary Oldman) by making “the pitch of his life” about cellphone technology. Things go badly — ostensibly not because he’s still wearing the hoodie at the most important meeting of his life, but you have to wonder — and everybody gets fired. In a moment of pure idiocy, Adam encourages his friends to drink all night on Wyatt’s dime and is summoned to the office the next day.
His crafty boss, borrowing Michael Caine’s accent, blackmails Adam into going undercover at a rival tech firm run by his old mentor (Harrison Ford) to steal a prototype for a revolutionary new product.
The plot takes a few nice twists, but would anyone genuinely believe doe-eyed Adam could pull off this heist in a security-obsessed building? Even though he’s bedding the company’s marketing director (Amber Heard) and sneaking access to her computer files? Fortunately, she’s careless with her passwords, which is exactly the sort of dumb, cheap shortcut “Paranoia’s” script relies on one too many times.
Director Robert Luketic wants to disturb the audience by turning the very technology Adam loves against him, as Wyatt’s cameras track him everywhere. But “Paranoia” can’t make you nervous enough to care.
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