Push (Summit Entertainment, PG-13)

film_push_sm.jpgStrange that director Paul McGuigan was able to secure what is at least a pretty good cast for this mess.

 

 

 

 

 

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I like to brag both in my movie reviews and to people that I know that once I come to the decision that I’m going to see a movie, at that point I do the best I can not to learn anything else about it until I see it—even simple things like who’s in it, what it’s about, whatever. While by and large I think this is a great policy, it totally bit me in the ass tonight. A film called Push just won both the Grand Jury and Audience prizes at Sundance, which put it on my to-see list. The Push that I saw tonight is a different film by the same title, this one directed by Lucky Number Slevin‘s Paul McGuigan, and was a poopy mess that I would have been much better off avoiding.

The non-Sundance Push stars Ryan Reynolds-clone Chris Evans (The Fantastic Four‘s Johnny Storm), Dakota Fanning, and 10,000 B.C.‘s Camilla Belle as people who can manipulate time and space in various ways. Evans’ Nick is an untrained and not-very-reliable telekinetic (he falls just short of being able to do the Jedi mind trick, apparently), Fanning’s Cassie can see grainy montages of the future, and then can see how the future changes if she and her companions do things different to avoid what was their fate (she has to draw pictures of each result to help her remember, kind of like the opposite of what Guy Pearce has to do in Memento, and the opposite of how cool that was, too), and Belle’s Kira can plant suggestions into people’s heads, automatically convincing them of their truth (or untruth, as the case may be). Together they have to work together to save Cassie’s mother from a U.S. government agency in Hong Kong (don’t ask), who is said to be the most powerful of her kind ever known.

Push‘s biggest problem is its pacing and storytelling: The pacing is nonexistent (never have I seen a fast-cut movie be so slow and dull!) and the story neither makes sense nor makes you care about its characters. What’s weird is that while Push is a very dull action movie, somehow the action sequences are worse than the non-action sequences, mostly on account of retarded-looking screaming men with dilated eyes, and villains who very hammily intercept bullets midair (imagine The Matrix but without the imagination and using only special effects from the 60s). Usually bad action movies of this sort only have the action sequences going for them, so it says a lot about Push that they are the worst part of the movie.

Strange that McGuigan was able to secure what is at least a pretty good cast for this mess. As usual, Fanning stands at the top of the acting skills category (though she needs a new agent, and could probably stand to be taught how to both draw and eat with chopsticks, based on the way this film is edited). But really, if you’re in the mood to see some sci-fi lite, just turn on regular old network TV, because what you catch there will be of a similar quality, but at least it will be free. | Pete Timmermann

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