There’s a reason why Liam Hemsworth should be paranoid. A fairly standard corporate thriller becomes a little bit more interesting as soon as Gary Oldman starts chewing up the scenery. Add to the mix a bald (yes, bald) Harrison Ford who seems to be having the time of his life. Finally, throw in Richard Dreyfuss for good measure and you have three old pros hamming it up and stealing “Paranoia” right from under Hemsworth’s handsome nose.
Directed by Robert Luketic and written by Jason Hall and Barry L. Levy), based on Joseph Finder’s novel, “Paranoia” is the story of Adam Cassidy (Hemsworth), a smart IT/business wiz working as a grunt in Nicolas Wyatt’s (Gary Oldman) company. After a group presentation of which Cassidy is part fails to impress Wyatt, the group goes out to a high-end club to commiserate on the company’s dime. Although that night brings Cassidy a one-night fling with Emma Jennings (Amber Heard), his lapse in financial judgment—using the company’s card to pay for the group’s expensive drinks—also leaves him vulnerable to blackmail by Wyatt. To make his card troubles go away, Cassidy agrees to perform corporate espionage on Wyatt’s bitter rival, Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford) and his company. To go into more detail would only give away some of “Paranoia’s” minor pleasures. Let’s just say there’s a lot more scenery chewing.
As noted earlier, the supporting testosterone-laden cast seems to be enjoying itself immensely. In addition to Oldman and Ford, it’s fun to see Richard Dreyfuss back on the screen as Cassidy’s father. Never mind that it stretches all credulity believing that someone of Dreyfuss’ petite stature could produce a son the size of the gigantic Hemsworth. Just enjoy him.
Poor Liam Hemsworth. If he was hoping this film would be his breakout role—separating him forever from his brother, Chris—and bring him more serious work, “Paranoia” is not yet it. He’s very cute, but there’s nothing to differentiate him from his fellow young actors. And to make matters worse, his supposed Brooklyn accent is the exact same, not very good one used by fellow Aussies Russell Crowe (“Broken City“) and Anthony LaPaglia (“Without a Trace“) when called upon to play New Yorkers. Perhaps the next installment of The Hunger Games will give him more of an opportunity to shine.
A thriller isn’t a bad way to spend lull away the afternoon or evening in a summer full of special effect movies with way over the top music. It’s just too bad that “Paranoia” isn’t more thrilling.
1 ½ nuggets out of 4