Review: Don’t answer The Call

Under absolutely no circumstances should you answer The Call. Hang up, iDivert, ignore whatever you need to do. Just act like the new Halle Berry thriller/drama doesn’t exist.

More frustrating is that sense that somewhere buried in all this wreckage is a decent idea that could have made for a good thriller. Yet now I’m writing this public service announcement masquerading as a movie review to warn you not to ever waste valuable moments of your life even considering watching my favorite to win Worst Movie of the 2013.

Halle Berry plays Jordan Turner, a 911 operator who’s the experienced pro at her L.A. call center. She’s got a dashing police officer boyfriend, Paul (the solid as always Morris Chestnut, Think Like a Man) and she’s great at her job — right up until she makes a costly mistake on a kidnapping call that leads to the death of a teenage girl.

Greg Gayne/Sony PicturesMichael Foster (Michael Eklund) abducts Casey Welson(Abigail Breslin).
Greg Gayne/Sony Pictures
Michael Foster (Michael Eklund) abducts Casey Welson(Abigail Breslin).

Six months later, Jordan gets a shot at redemption when Casey, (Abigail Breslin, Zombieland), a teenage girl, calls from a trunk after being abducted.

With no other support option, Jordan braces herself for what may prove to be her most personal call yet.

Berry, a former Best Actress Oscar-winner, emotionally invests in the movie and through her we can sympathize with Jordan’s fears and determination to save Casey.

It’s one of Berry’s better performances recently, but it’s wasted and her best efforts can’t save the film when she’s so masterfully let down by her director and screenwriter.

Screenwriter Richard D’Ovidio hasn’t written a screenplay since 2001’s Thir13en Ghosts. The break hasn’t helped him as this is one of the most ludicrous scripts I’ve endured in years.

Greg Gayne/Sony PicturesOfficer Phillips (Morris Chestnut) and Officer Devans (David Otunga) try to find Casey.
Greg Gayne/Sony Pictures
Officer Phillips (Morris Chestnut) and Officer Devans (David Otunga) try to find Casey.

Characters are selectively dumb, the other call center operators seemingly have little to do besides stand behind Jordan and listen to her call and no one is around in broad daylight as needed to help keep the film moving along and the last act is so stupid that it manages to turn off the few remaining audience members who hadn’t already written it off.

This is another WWE Studios production and at the rate they’re cranking out bombs, they need to just stick to crappy wrestling storylines and failed senatorial campaigns.

WWE Superstar David Otunga has a supporting role as Paul’s partner, Jake, and he’s decent enough with his limited screen time that I’d be curious to see what he could do in another movie.

Brad Anderson’s (The Machinist) direction is abysmal. He prefers to utilize ‘stalker-cam,’ where he obnoxiously zooms the camera right up on the actors and makes quick edits like he’s directing a music video. It’s too stylized for a drama and makes the viewing experience too ‘in your face!!!!!!’

Greg Gayne/Sony PicturesHalle Berry as Jordan Turner.
Greg Gayne/Sony Pictures
Halle Berry as Jordan Turner.

I’ll spare Anderson the tiniest amount of blame for another issue though. Whoever put together the film’s trailer clearly wanted to save people the time of actually seeing the movie and proceeds to show every remotely thrilling moment ruining any hint of excitement. They really deserve a medal for compassion above and beyond the call of duty for sparing the rest of you.

Don’t take The Call. This is one sucker that needs to go straight to voicemail.

Rating: 2.5 out of 10

Photo Credit: Greg Gayne/Sony Pictures

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