Short and Stupid – Lucy (2014)

The more I think about it, the less I like it.  So this is about a young woman (Scarlett Johansson) who gets handcuffed to an attaché case and forced to deal with some unsavory people.  Shortly thereafter, she gets coerced to mule a package of a new experimental drug surgically hidden next to her stomach, and when that package starts to leak, she starts to gain super abilities as she unlocks more and more of her brain’s capacity.  I liked this a hundred times better back when it was called Limitless.  That movie is smart, well-filmed and surprisingly riveting with twists and turns that really hold your attention at every single moment.  Looking briefly at the notes that I took while I was watching Lucy, on the other hand, I wrote the word “stupid” no less than five times.  Comparatively speaking again, Limitless straddles that plausibility line while this bursts through the proverbial ceiling.  They both use that overused trope where if you could use 100% of your brain, you could do some Professor Xavier telepathic wonders.  Yeah, it doesn’t work like that.

homerIf you do a quick Google search for “10 percent of brain”, the first result that pops up is a Wikipedia page that completely debunks that myth.

With the popularity of Black Widow and the Avengers, it was only a matter of time before a movie of this ilk happened, and I like that Johansson’s star power has grown so much that she can now open an action movie, I really do.  And she is NOT what makes this movie fail, she gives it her all.  The only problem with her is how she is written; once she gets this drug into her system, her character becomes an inhuman, emotionless, robotic blank slate, and because of it, you couldn’t care less about what happens to her.  And Morgan Freeman?  He’s just a professor, and the only reason he is here is to give a student lecture so as to explain how the “science” behind what makes this foolishness works.

lucyBecause when you unlock your brain’s full potential, you can see cell phone calls and pick out the one that you wanted to tap into.

Luc Besson has made a number of movies that I am a big fan of; he wrote and produced the first Taken, and that was gritty and hard-hitting, and as far as the director’s chair goes, I can watch The Fifth Element or Léon: The Professional at any given time and get vast amounts of enjoyment out of seeing either one of them for the umpteenth time.  This?  It’s brain dead, insultingly dumb and riddled with problems.  There are lots of stock animal metaphor shots which are really lazy, and every time a percentage fills the screen to show how Lucy’s brain is progressing, you’ll want to yell “we get it” at the screen.  When it starts waxing philosophical towards the end, you roll your eyes because this hasn’t earned the right to do that, and it all leads up to an ending that leads a leaves a terrible taste in your mouth.  You will help your brain’s capacity if you avoid this.

Lucy (2014) *

– Critic for Hire

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