Paranormal thriller pushes the limits with its illogical plot

The Baltimore Sun

The painfully inscrutable paranormal thriller Push introduces us to a host of characters with various gifts - some can see the future, some can heal, some can plant ideas, some can make change for a dollar. By the time the credits roll, your most fervent wish is to run into a "wiper" (one who can erase memories) after stumbling into the lobby. That, or a telepath who could convince you that you just watched Slumdog Millionaire instead.

We are told in a windy, opening-credits prologue that psychic experiments started by Nazis are now being continued by the U.S. government to create some kind of super army. Most of David Bourla's script is a confusing mess, but what we do know with reasonable certainty is that telekinetic Nick Gant (Chris Evans) and clairvoyant Cassie (Dakota Fanning) must recover a powerful, experimental drug in the jam-packed streets of Hong Kong before the government gets its hands on it.

Director Paul McGuigan (Lucky Number Slevin) has never been keen on plot logic, and that might be fine here, if he offered anything other than Peter Sova's lush images of Hong Kong. Concepts are introduced and immediately abandoned. When Nick devises the inspired idea for his band of harried pranksters to behave illogically to throw the "watchers" off their scent, it'd be nice for a little wackiness to ensue instead of simply another inert action sequence. (Hats off though for the scene where Evans threatens Djimon Hounsou with levitating revolvers. Sometimes the best effects are also the cheesiest.)

Fanning, apparently bummed at missing the audition for Bratz: The Movie, wanders around in a miniskirt and rainbow-colored hair, hurling the occasional profanity and looking decidedly lost. When Cassie downs a fifth of whiskey to see the future more clearly (and haven't we all done that?), Fanning turns into a mean cutie-pie drunk, demonstrating such a complete lack of first-hand knowledge that you can only salute her parents for a job well done. Now they just need to take better care of her career.

Push * ( 1 STAR)

(Summit Entertainment) Starring Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning. Directed by Paul McGuigan. Rated PG-13 for brief violence, language and teen drinking. Time 111 minutes.

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