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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Push (review)

Dakota Fanning is the Littlest Action Hero in this disappointingly generic shoot-’em-up dressed up with a few paranormal frills about regular people with capital-P Powers whom the government experiments on, hoping to turn them into weapons, until they escape and start causing havoc. Fanning (The Secret Life of Bees), a street urchin who can see the future, teams up with telekinetic Chris Evans (Street Kings), whose charm is wasted here, to find a missing suitcase — crammed with, supposedly, $6 million — that was allegedly stolen by Camilla Belle (10,000 B.C.), who can “push” ideas into people’s heads, when she made her great government escape. Or did she? The concept that notions can be “pushed” into one’s head seems like the ideal excuse for a mind frak, but no such luck here, as the wide-open possibilities this world presents are all but disposed of as of less interest than gun battles and fistfights with the tiniest of tedious twists on what we see all the time. Scottish director Paul McGuigan made the intriguing The Reckoning at home then came to Hollywood to make silly movies like Wicker Park — if he seemed to be on a bit of rebound with Lucky Number Slevin, well, never mind. Here, he’s working from a script by David Bourla, who has previously penned flicks with such titles as Doomsday Rock and When Time Expires, which makes me think they must be bad bits of Sci Fi Channel nonsense. And this monotonous tale would have been relegated to a cable ghetto if not for the star power of Fanning and, to a lesser degree, Evans, who are more compelling together than the rest of the movie around them can cope with. The missing case is so particularly MacGuffin-ish that, in the end, it feels like we’ve just watched a middle episode of a bad season of Heroes. And seeing guys stop bullets telekinetically gets old surprisingly fast.

Watch Push online using LOVEFiLM’s streaming service.

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MPAA: rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, brief strong language, smoking and a scene of teen drinking

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
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