"The Cell" Movie Review

Starring Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D'Onofrio, and Colton James

Jennifer Lopez co-stars with her ass in this movie about using special effects to venture into the minds of the comatose and schizophrenic. The scientists in control of this experiment openly admit that Jennifer has no training, but "She has a knack for it." I never saw much evidence for "knack," myself, unless they're talking about her knack for wandering around looking pretty (without ever actually getting naked). I guess you could call that a "knack."

It may not have a cohesive storyline, but one thing The Cell does have is a theme. Make that capitalized - A Theme - because it's expressed with all the subtlety of a parent teaching a baby to talk. "Water. Wa-ter. Waaaaa... TER." Yes, there is water in this movie. There is water visible in nearly every scene. Puddles, pools, fountains, bathtubs... okay, I get it! ENOUGH already!

The fact that the movie has virtually no plot doesn't hinder its heavy-handedness, either. It certainly doesn't dampen the musical score, which is only slightly less overt than a narrative voice over. "Look! This is an important scene! Uh oh - now it is scary! Scaaaaary!" The slightest hint of this thing we call "plot" is telegraphed so far in advance, there's really no need to see more than the first few minutes of the movie.

Jennifer's spent the last six months venturing into the mind of a little boy who suddenly fell into a coma while sailing (in water). The first, oh, twenty minutes of the movie is devoted to her interactions with this little boy, which doesn't ultimately amount to anything. As soon as the REAL plot shows up, the little boy is cast aside, both figuratively and literally, although he tastefully remains in his coma so that Jennifer can spend a pivotal scene sobbing at his bedside and looking pretty while gathering her courage, and stuff.

Wasn't that thoughtful of him?

Vincent D'Onofrio plays a serial killer who kidnaps girls and imprisons them for a while, before disposing of them in an elaborate timer-controlled machine that automatically drowns his victims (in water), which has been meticulously constructed from leftover sets. What IS it with serial killers and their elaborate schemes? So far as I know, in real life the closest a serial killer gets to an "elaborate scheme" is to put his arm in a fake cast so he looks less threatening (Ted Bundy). And yet, The Serial Killer's Elaborate Scheme has become Hollywood's second most dearly-held truth.

Hollywood's #1 most dearly-held truth is, of course, that monsters were abused as children, and therefore deserve our pity. Oh good lord, get OVER it already! All I have to say is, I pray to god I never live long enough to see a Godzilla movie that involves flashbacks to Godzilla's tortured childhood, when he was abused by his babysitter (lizardsitter?).

Speaking of praying to god, a pivotal scene of the movie takes place inside Jennifer Lopez's mind (which is every bit as flowery and frilly as you'd expect) where Jennifer appears as none other than the Virgin Mary. (Holy Jennifer, mother of God!) Who stands beside a small pool (of water).

Then the monster shows up, and Jennifer transforms herself into a sleek crossbow-wielding killing machine and beats the crap out of the monster. But then she turns around and sees that, by beating up the BAD part of the serial killer's mind, she's also hurt the GOOD part of his mind (which manifests itself as a little boy). So she takes pity on them both, re-transforms herself into the Virgin Jennifer, and baptizes the little boy to death (in water) to bring him peace.

If that paragraph of description sounds intriguing, then go see the movie. If it sounds ludicrous and nonsensical, then DON'T go see the movie, and by the way, you're welcome.

The Cell does have one thing going for it, though: a really cute dog. Although I hasten to point out that the dog is not, in fact, an albino (contrary to what the script would have you believe) nevertheless he's absolutely adorable. Rou rou rou! 2 points for the doggie.

Final score: 2 points.

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