Occupying the same space as other laughable, misguided Hollywood attempts at “timely”, “technologically relevant” cyber-thrillers like The Net and Firewall, Robert Luketic’s Paranoia answers the question nobody was asking: what if the director of Legally Blonde remade The Conversation? Just as generic and bland as its title would imply, this unexciting corporate espionage thriller plods along with exposition-clogged, techno-babble dialogue and standard issue cloak-and-dagger reversals while taking the odd swipe at online privacy to warn us that yes, Big Brother has never stopped watching.
The younger, not-Thor, Hemsworth (that’s Liam) is Adam Cassidy, a low-level and often shirtless tel-com drone who finds himself blackmailed by his big bad boss Nick Wyatt (Gary Oldman) to spy on their smartphone competitor/nemesis Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford). Soon Adam, who doesn’t want to wind up like his broke, emphysema-stricken dad (Richard Dreyfuss), is reaping the rewards (fast car, fancy apartment, fat paycheck, Amber Heard as his girlfriend), until Sawyer from Lost shows up to uncover the true heinous nature of Wyatt’s plans.
Much of what ensues barely qualifies as suspenseful: USB-stick data theft, thumbprint recognition mismatching, and a climactic standoff that revolves around the undeniably nail-biting sight of grown men removing batteries from their mobile phones. The veteran actors do their darnedest with the risible, strictly straight-to-vid material: Oldman gets to erupt into one of his signature screaming fits, Ford’s just going through the motions in a role that’s more or less on par with the mediocrity of his late career output.