A quick, slick and silly thriller, Cellular is a lot of fun. It starts like any ordinary day for beachboy beefcake Ryan (Chris Evans) - kicking back with a buddy and chasing his ex. Then a desperate woman (Kim Basinger) calls his mobile phone and he's thrown into a breakneck chase to stop kidnappers offing her family. It's the classic Hitchcock 'wrong man' set-up, pulled off with wit, energy, and a healthy sense of the ridiculous.
Sometimes the humour is unintentional: Basinger's guffaw-ful performance is so breathlessly OTT it's like watching Bette Davis having an asthma attack. The 'woah!' dude character of Ryan also offers snide sniggers, but his transition from idiot to action hero is broadly effective, even if a couple of heat-of-the-moment decisions do leave you screaming at the screen.
"WILLIAM H MACY IS EXCELLENT, AS EVER"
The story is structured with brutal efficiency and embraces shameless coincidence. Battery low? Hey, you're by a phone store! Need to know where your car's empounded? Hey, there goes a tow truck! That this is enjoyable and not intolerable is down to the pacy direction (from Final Destination 2's David R Ellis) and screenwriter Chris Morgan (from a story by B-movie maestro Larry Cohen), who has paid admirable attention to detail, making even bit-part-players - from a store owner to an obnoxious lawyer - memorable and funny.
The film is also expertly cast in two key roles: Snatch star Jason Statham's menacing screen presence is well-exploited as the scowling villain, and William H Macy is excellent, as ever, as a decent copper in over his head. In all, Cellular is a little number definitely worth dialling.
Cellular is released in UK cinemas on Friday 24th September 2004.