lucyOn the heels of her alien-with-an-attitude snorefest UNDER THE SKIN, ScarJo’s back with a new piece of sci-fi hokum. What starts out suggesting it might take be like Cliff Robertson’s CHARLY reimagined as a thriller instead turns Johansson into a shoot-em-up action heroine whose brain power has exploded after ingestion of a super-drug. This gives her powers that range from the impressive to the ridiculous. She can memorize 6,000 pages of reading almost at a glance. She’s never driven a car but can navigate a race down the streets (and sidewalks) of Paris at breakneck speed. She’s clairvoyant. And telekinetic. Every shot she fires hits its target. And on and on as title cards keep announcing her current level of brain use (40%…70%…99%…). But the race-against-time plot loses a lot of its suspense because of Johansson’s trademark I-don’t-give-a-shit mien. She’s the same in every picture, almost daring us not to waste her time. Too, Morgan Freeman has seldom looked so uncomfortable. When he stammers to Scarlett “I don’t know what to say”, he seems to be asking himself how he got involved in this project. I did not love LUCY. — Jeff Schultz

I saw LUCY about a week ago. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. Is it supposed to be a parody? Is it a serious SciFi film that raises questions about human potential? Is it simply a complete mess that cannot be understood? I’m leaning toward the latter. Jeff detailed the plot (if that’s what you would like to call it). The beginning plays like a mash-up of a thriller and director Geoffrey Reggio’s mind bending 1982 photographic documentary Koyaanisqatsi. Only it’s less interesting. The images of earth flash by at break neck speed. Animals, people, cities. What the hell am I supposed to be looking at. It plays like a lazy exposition. “Hey, this will be arty, lets use images of human and earth development instead of explaining anything.” Luc Besson, you have disappointed me. This is mind numbingly odd. Don’t make me work so hard. There are some funny parts. Scarlett Johansson has a few good deadpan lines. Before she takes the drug she is what, a disinterested American tourist? Then after she ingests it, she seems to be a female version of Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Only far less interesting, without the innocent desire to become more human. Instead she seems to toss off the fact that she’s losing her humanity like a discarded sweater. I actually liked the shoot-em-up scenes and the chase through Paris. It was at least visually interesting. More than I can say for the rest of this. One more thing, she is now “everywhere”, yet all her accumulated knowledge fits on a thumb drive? Sigh. Disappointing on so many levels. This Lucy is most akin to Charlie Brown’s friend, pulling the football away from us as we try to enjoy some time at the theater.  — Alan Yudman


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