Movies You Aught Not Watch is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films of 2000 to 2009.
Funny that a sci-fi tale about a character moving incredibly fast should go so slow, but Doug Liman’s 2008 Jumper was a boring, bland and nasty piece of work filled with sudden eruptions into impersonal and incoherent action sequences.
David (Hayden Christensen) is part of a group with genetic anomalies allowing them to instantaneously “jump” anywhere in the world. Gal pal or a gun — if you can hold it, you can jump with it. It’s fitting that David jumps several times into a library, destroying its books the way this script does Steven Gould’s young-adult novel.
Paladins — zealots bent on killing Jumpers — pursue David “because only God should have this power,” as Samuel L. Jackson’s evil Roland blandly intones. With his white hair, Jackson looks like he’s shorn a sheep and glued its wool to his head. He also mimics Dennis Rodman’s acting as well, with a wooden turn here.
Christensen proves himself the new Ryan Phillippe, no compliment unless you enjoy actors who often have annoyingly blah detachment. And Rachel Bilson (as David’s girlfriend) is a damsel of whom you hope distress gets the better — anything to shut her yap.
What starts out as a metaphor for youth crushing the establishment ends up crushing any sense of adventure. Admittedly, the nifty closing sequence — spanning Egypt, London, Chechnya and, uh, Ann Arbor — recalls the effects of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It made one wonder what could’ve come of this had Charlie Kaufman taken a pass at the screenplay.