Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Rachel Bilson, Jamie Bell
Jim Uhls, Simon Kinberg, David S. Goyer
20th Century Fox
I don't understand.
I'm not talking about the film. Geez, "Jumper" is easy to understand. It's about a young man named David (Hayden Christensen) who discovers that he can teleport himself anywhere he damn well pleases.
What I don't understand is, how the heck did Hayden Christensen end up in this film?
On a weekend that brought us Ryan Reynolds in a romantic comedy, the worst casting of all is planting "Stone Boy" Christensen in a role that requires personality, action, electricity and, dare I say it, emotion.
What was director Doug Liman ("Bourne Identity," "Mr. and Mrs. Smith") thinking?
Liman has a history of making, quite successfully, this very type of film.
Think about it.
"Bourne Identity?" Action-filled and entertaining.
"Swingers?" Incredibly hip.
"Mr. and Mrs. Smith?" Okay. Okay. This film really started its decline, but it had numerous positives, scored at the box-office and broke up a marriage.
"Jumper," on the other hand, has more in common with last year's abysmal "The Covenant" than any of Liman's previous films.
The biggest problem with "Jumper" is simple. David, as played by Christensen, is nothing but a self-serving, self-involved and spoiled asshole undeserving of support, sympathy, understanding or our 90 minutes in a movie theatre.
Genetically linked to an abusive father (Michael Rooker) and an abandoning mother (Diane Lane, having a crappy year thus far), David discovers his gift and uses it to his full advantage until discovering the truth from his soon-to-be nemesis Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) and discovering a centuries old war going on between jumpers and those who wish to kill them.
To call "Jumper" dreadful might very well be insulting to those dreadful films I've managed to enjoy or at least appreciate. "Jumper" is worse than dreadful...it's a badly acted, poorly constructed and idiotically scripted piece of blue-collar eye candy based upon a decent novel by Steven Gould.
Liman, not exactly noted for making campy films, has turned "Jumper" into a film that is so unintentionally bad that only Jamie Bell ("Billy Elliot," "Flags of Our Fathers"), as a renegade jumper, and the always impressive Samuel L. Jackson manage to survive with their dignity intact.
Supporting performances by Kristen Stewart, AnnaSophia Robb and Rachel Bilson add little to the proceedings, though one movie trivia question I recently asked was answered regarding the whereabouts of Tom Hulce received an answer when he showed up onscreen in a brief, supporting turn.
A mere skeleton to the fleshed out, captivating and entertaining films he usually creates, "Jumper" is a huge step backward for Liman and further proof that Christensen has, at some point, sold his soul to the devil in exchange for a semblance of an acting career.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic