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Overall Rating
2.95

Awesome: 19.7%
Worth A Look: 23.23%
Average: 14.14%
Pretty Bad: 18.69%
Total Crap24.24%

12 reviews, 126 user ratings


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Cell, The
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by Scott Weinberg

"OK, class...again. 'Visually cool, but a really weak script.' Very good!"
2 stars

Interested in how to predict which movies will stink? That's easy: If a movie looks really cool, that means it will probably stink. Maybe I'm over-generalizing, but going to the movies is more getting to be more disappointing than my sex life, and that's saying a lot.

You'd think it would get boring saying the same old thing: "Yeah, the movie sure looked great, but I can't really remember the plot or if there were characters or not..." Well, it does get boring. But the truth is the truth. If cinema were still in its silent age, The Cell would be a truly great movie. Unfortunately, modern movies often need pesky little components like a plot or even some interesting dialogue. The Cell has neither of those.

The plot is best described as "The Matrix meets Seven", although not nearly as cool as either of these movies. A brilliant scientist (who obviously has to be the young, female and gorgeous Jennifer Lopez) can basically enter other people's minds to see what may be out of whack. She can do this thanks to a whole bunch of important-looking doctors, some flashing computer panels and these neat-looking licorice suits that hang from the ceiling.

Up until now, our perky heroine has used her skills to help a young boy escape from a coma. But she's got a new patient, in the form of an icky psycho serial killer (D'Onofrio). See, the maniac was about to be apprehended by detective Vince Vaughn (who needs a comb throughout the entire movie), only he had a seizure and is now on the brink of death.

But this is no ordinary serial killer. His chosen method of torturing his young, female victims consists of locking them inside this giant shower stall, which slowly fills with water over the course of two days. Aside from the necessary 'race-the-clock' plot contrivances, there's no real explanation for this whole ritual. But once the girls are drowned, then our killer gets pretty disgusting. Suffice to say that it involves a bunch of sharp hooks and a whole lot of bare flesh.

So Lopez has to get inside the lunatic's mind and find out where the giant shower stall is located before the time is up. That's where the plot ends and the problems begin. The trips inside the head of a psychopath may seem like some big attraction to the first-time director, but we all grew up on MTV. This stuff is old hat! Tarsem Singh directs in two speeds: A) All that annoying 'plot' stuff and B) Dark, creepy, smoky landscapes and women with wings throwing glitter across the ocean, muscle-bound Centaurs with bloody teeth, etc.

Well, the 'plot stuff' is strictly by the numbers, and the glitzy dream/mind sequences grow wearisome pretty quick. Perhaps if the visual scale had been balanced with a plot that was even remotely original or entertaining, it would be a different story. But without the backbone of a strong narrative, all the smoke machines and mood lighting just amount to a load of pretense. It's like a room full of colorful party decorations, only there's no party.

Jennifer Lopez continues her string of unimpressive performances, but I guess when you look like she does, people simply don't expect too much. As the annoyed-looking 'cop in charge', Vince Vaughn is out of his element. He'd have trouble playing this role even if it were well-written. As our truly disturbed psycho, D'Onofrio is just there, whining and screaming.

Maybe if first-time screenwriter Mark Protosevich hadn't been content to just let the director do all the work, The Cell could have become a cult classic. The lazy story and unconvincing dialogue sinks it, regardless of how inventive the movie may look. Director Tarsem's 'Losing My Religion' video (for REM) is more effective and also more entertaining than The Cell, but there he had the advantage of not having to bother with words.

If you consider a movie an exclusively visual performance, then by all means disregard my criticisms, because you may SEE a few impressive things here. As a whole, it's a giant disappointment, and it's annoying to see so many movies take the easy way out-and so often.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4392&reviewer=128
originally posted: 08/30/00 19:39:12
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User Comments

6/03/11 Bronson Mejia I tried to like this movie and wonder what Ebert saw that I didn't! 1 stars
8/30/10 KingNeutron Unique movie - worth watching for the effects and the dream sequences 4 stars
12/20/09 FrankNFurter Overly-bashed film with high creepiness/suspence and unique visuals. Worth watching! 4 stars
8/30/09 CTT Incredible stuff, very underappreciated 5 stars
1/22/09 Psychotic angel Looks good, but story is horrible. And why all you sane people have filth or gore fetish? 3 stars
9/15/08 Panda Monium Amazing imagery makes up for plot holes, very creepy 4 stars
8/27/08 Shaun Wallner This is the kind of movie you fall asleep too. 1 stars
5/15/08 PAUL SHORTT ITS THE CLASSIC ERROR OF STYLE AND NO SUBSTANCE. TOTALLY DISTASTEFUL 1 stars
6/28/07 gr117 Crapola 1 stars
1/19/07 Marjorie This film was a journey through the mind of a killer who lives in a psychological hell 4 stars
1/16/07 David Pollastrini saw it but have no memory so it must have sucked 2 stars
10/15/06 Adrian Thoroughly enjoyable. Visionary, but the story and characters needed work. Too short as wel 4 stars
6/18/06 chienne Strange, creepy, weird & total frog shit. What was the horse thing about? 2 stars
10/11/05 Carolyn Rathburn This film left me feeling strange, a little like I needed a place to hide. 4 stars
8/07/05 Charlene Javier Severely underrated. 4 stars
8/04/05 Carolyn Rathburn Left me feeling strange, plays on the emotions 4 stars
8/03/05 Eric Rollins Fascinating on many levels. Best visual effect is making J-Los butt look good. 4 stars
6/09/05 C. Butterill Would like to find a review that analyzes the strong imagery references to Mary, the Christ 4 stars
4/24/05 Vince Pretty cool flick. Don't listen to dorky total crappers, watch it! 4 stars
4/13/05 Indrid Cold Ultimately pretty shallow, but worth seeing for the stunning imagery. 4 stars
1/11/05 Archanist_101 It would've been better as an Anime & if it was directed by Clive Barker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
12/12/04 Admiral Piett Fuck J-Lo 1 stars
9/26/04 teri hill awsome movie 5 stars
9/22/04 R.W. Welch Pic is overwhelmed by mostly meaningless dreamscapes. Some interesting images. 2 stars
5/20/04 Proteus The setdesigner is the only one who put this on his resume. Shoulda hired Kaufman to script 1 stars
3/04/04 Vince A creepy serial killer movie with a twist.... I liked it 4 stars
2/25/04 john wants to be clever but ends up overindulgent and obvious - rather pointless film 1 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge Visually stunning, as disturbing as I want, beautiful, and subliminal. Good meat flavour. 5 stars
7/08/03 nr great 5 stars
5/25/03 John40 underrated sci-fi flick with great visuals 4 stars
5/17/03 Jack Sommersby Style over substance. Repugnant, boring, and forgettable. 1 stars
4/22/03 mr. Pink Boring crap 1 stars
4/19/03 Ubu the Ripper Not even worth the effort to type a comment. 1 stars
3/01/03 Monique worst i've ever seen, threw popcorn at the screen in anger. j-lo gotta go! 1 stars
2/26/03 scott A GOOD FILM 5 stars
2/01/03 Goofy Maxwell Coulda been a wicked comic book on film - comix needn't make sense, but thrillers... 2 stars
11/18/02 Paul The good thing id Lopez barley talks..sits around looking scared 2 stars
11/14/02 Paul The good thing id Lopez barley talks..sits around looking scared 2 stars
11/08/02 solamia i loved it 5 stars
8/14/02 Bryan Brooks It's so bad, I'm suprised Jake Lloyd wasn't in it. J-Lo=no-acto. 2 stars
7/15/02 ! pure bullshit 1 stars
5/15/02 hooman farmer 1 stars
3/05/02 Alan Smithee Other than Ms. Lopez's ass, this movie is just a boring turd. 1 stars
1/21/02 Spencer Lent This was more whacked up than Pi. Weird weird weird. 3 stars
1/15/02 Bojo I'm really surprised that so many of you hate this movie. You all suck. Visuals were amazin 5 stars
1/15/02 Andrew Carden MST2K Should Take This One Into Their Grasp. 2 stars
10/31/01 I love movies Roger Ebert opinions are dinosaur crap. He also liked nutty professor 2 1 stars
9/23/01 Jim Cranky Critic sez: "Disembowelment: The Music Video" That's about right. 3 stars
9/09/01 Butterbean Not as bad as everyone says. D'Onofio was great in it and there was a nice story. 3 stars
6/27/01 This movie sucks don't waste your money The "Hooked on phonics" version of the Matrix with no big words 1 stars
6/02/01 Thrillhouse boring, tasteless, stupid, and illogical 1 stars
5/28/01 I love movies Roger Ebert i hate you you used to be reliable, now you give this fucking movie four stars. 1 stars
5/24/01 Rampage UN-FREAKING-BELIEVABLE...don't waste your money on a crappy movie like this one 1 stars
5/06/01 Roy Smith Very pretty and incredibly stupid , screams for MST3K treatment.. 1 stars
4/19/01 Tam Thriller eh? This didnt thrill me at all. Took far too long. 2 stars
4/14/01 suraj kumar singha fuck 5 stars
4/12/01 Jesse L Besides the ludicrous plot, Jennifer should have been topless 2 stars
4/08/01 Steve All visual, no substance. JLo actress??? 2 stars
3/19/01 Elendil ...and the concept had such potential...BTW, the effects aren't *that* great. 1 stars
2/11/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi A hybrid of Smashing Pumpkins/Marylin Manson videos, with J Lo as the obligatory hot babe. 4 stars
2/01/01 Dan Waldman Plot died from exhaustion & took visuals with it 1 stars
1/18/01 Derrick G. Jackson One of the worst movies I've ever seen. Garbage! 1 stars
1/16/01 Nut Total suck. Lopez as a brilliant scientist--yeah right! 1 stars
1/06/01 Emily i thought this movie was superb. and i'll say it again. superb. 5 stars
12/23/00 Bev Clark Visually striking but fucking awful narrative 3 stars
12/23/00 mahone Glossed up B crap. 2 stars
12/10/00 BrittenysPears Lopez needs to stick to "singing" this is the definition of sucks all ass 1 stars
12/03/00 scott wahls the matrix meets seven, if there is no sequel my life will be empty 5 stars
11/25/00 The Evil Penguin Corny dialogue, but the imagination is stun you. 3 stars
11/21/00 The Bill Head This was an okay movie. It had some moments...that's about it. 3 stars
11/20/00 Fat bastard You don't need a plot, you have Jennifer Lopez and some cool visual fx 3 stars
11/17/00 Caz:) Deliciously weird! An eye opener! Fantastic visuals and solid script. 5 stars
11/05/00 Jon I think people say they like Lopez to hide their homosexuality 1 stars
10/01/00 Ivan Truly marvelous suspense thriller! Silence of the Lambs doesn't even come close!! 5 stars
9/18/00 Gluke what a fucking trip!!! 5 stars
9/17/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble Hey Everybody! Let's find cruel and sadistic ways to torture women! Hooray For Hollwyood!!! 1 stars
9/15/00 bartv A few stri$8.50 to see Jennifer as a great model but terrible actress with absurd dialogue. 2 stars
9/14/00 Ground Zero Two words: bad movie 2 stars
9/13/00 PJ eye candy, plotholes, bad acting, over direction, pretensious, style over substance, sucks! 2 stars
9/10/00 The Bomb 69 visual masterpiece, story held up as well 4 stars
9/10/00 MIKE TERRIBLE. NO PLOT. I WOULD RATHER KISS THAT BEAST JENNIFER LOPEZ THEN SEE THIS AGAIN! 1 stars
9/08/00 Tdis72 A sucking movie for all the hype about this and I won't see anymore Jennifer Lopez movies 1 stars
9/07/00 Basil Worth a look just for the special effects. 3 stars
9/06/00 Mike This could have been very good, but the plot crapped at the end. 3 stars
9/04/00 Zeitgeist hmm...you'd think they'd drug test someone whose job is to enter people's minds 3 stars
9/03/00 M-Cat of the Feline Posse don't believe the reviews, just watch the movie 5 stars
9/02/00 ALIaS Incredible Visuals! The story however fell so short of its potential 4 stars
9/01/00 Diehard Actually, I found the plot to be quite involving. It was actually original and well-played 4 stars
8/31/00 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Looked like a lot of my dreams...does this mean I'm schizo??? 4 stars
8/28/00 Girl 9 weak plot and BAD acting by Lopez, but still strangely interesting... 4 stars
8/27/00 Kriperace S.S.D.D 2 stars
8/27/00 All o dat Jennifers ass and a surgicly sliced horse. 5 stars
8/27/00 Chuck The separated-hore thing was pretty cool... 1 stars
8/26/00 NICK i only saw it to see jenny lopezs PHAT ASS 1 stars
8/26/00 PhilmPhreak Very pretty visuals, very dumb story 3 stars
8/25/00 Maclay01 Should have been condensed into a ten-minute video - the story was insulting 2 stars
8/24/00 Movieman Bizarre, but original 4 stars
8/24/00 amy dawson this movie kicked ass 5 stars
8/24/00 Politicsman SOTL meets Matrix meets Dark City meets Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here 3 stars
8/23/00 BRINGER OF BAD SMELLS I didn't know that they stacked shit that high. 1 stars
8/23/00 Ramen Noodles all that bullcrap to solve what normal policework could have figured out 1 stars
8/23/00 **~**Persnickety**~** damn, this movie left me speechless,,incredible 5 stars
8/23/00 kim boyd beautiful but u don't get 2 know the characters well enuff 2 care n wht hppnd 2 the 1st boy 2 stars
8/23/00 forger This stank to high heaven, watch the trailer & save your $$ 1 stars
8/22/00 elfpunkt don't go to see this while frying.... 5 stars
8/22/00 Captain Highcrime A contemporary/modern art gallery come to life. 5 stars
8/22/00 Jubilee Guy Visually stunning, decent story (with some holes). 4 stars
8/22/00 malcolm "Silence of the Lambs" on acid -- side shot of Lopez's ass doesn't hurt either 3 stars
8/21/00 doompoon really makes you cherish the moment. Visuals so out of this world that they suspend you 5 stars
8/21/00 Roman Pretty damn cool 5 stars
8/21/00 PJ Some of the visuals were amazing, but I was a little dissapointed 3 stars
8/21/00 ItHasVinceVaughnInIt Visually amazing, amazing script, amazing acting...best of the summer 5 stars
8/21/00 KoHawk This movie was extremely innovative and, well, awesome.My dimwitted counterparts wont agree 5 stars
8/20/00 Doctor Collosus Visionary! Horrifying and Beautiful. Not for the weak-minded 5 stars
8/20/00 JonnyA Worth seeing, great visuals esp. a shot of Lopez in her undies...ghetto booty whut! whut! 4 stars
8/20/00 Stargher What's with all these grainy-looking movies recently? This one's the best. Stunning, truly 5 stars
8/20/00 LoudChris IT was like riding an awsome, short roller coster with a long line 3 times. 4 stars
8/20/00 Thor A beautifully designed and gorgeously photographed intensely bad movie. 1 stars
8/20/00 Merripen Some of the most beautiful visuals I have ever seen. Excellent. 5 stars
8/20/00 Rue the Whirl Visually average, story sucking, overall a disappointment 2 stars
8/19/00 Kip Visualy wonderful, story a little lacking, but over all good. 4 stars
8/19/00 Linda Phillips weak on acting and dialogue; strong on effects 3 stars
8/19/00 frank visual masterpiece. good script. lots of disturbing bits. 4 stars
8/18/00 hamlet3k Surreal visuals and disturbing imagery make for creepy good time. 4 stars
8/18/00 Jokko fucking LAME. shitty performances, massive directoral masturbation, utterly awful script. 1 stars
8/13/00 Justin Brilliant , loaded with incredible effects, and genius ideas, Lopez's ass deserves an OSCAR 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Aug-2000

UK
  N/A

Australia
  16-Nov-2000 (M)




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