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Movie Review: Jumper

Directed by Doug Liman
Written by David S. Goyer, Jim Uhls, and Simon Kinberg from the novel by Steven Gould
Fox, 2008

Right off the bat in Jumper, Hayden Christensen narrates that he’s been to all these places (landmarks, cities, etc.) and the NBA Finals…all before lunch.  These must be the salad days for the NBA, playing their important championships in the morning.  I knew I was going to hate this as soon as I heard those words.

That’s a shame, because Jumper has a neat concept: David Rice (played young by Max Theriot, then older by Christensen…where’s Jake Lloyd when you need him?) discovers he can transport himself instantly anywhere he wants.  His mom (Diane Lane) left the family long ago, leaving him with bad dad William (Michael Rooker).  At 15, when he truly discovers the power, he knocks off a bank and sets himself up for life.

And life is good, when you can have a picnic on the top of the Sphinx in Giza and nail every hot European broad you see.  But David holds a candle for one woman: his childhood sweetheart Millie (played young by the precociously beautiful AnnaSophia Robb, then older by the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, Rachel Bilson).  He finds her at about the time a mysterious government agent, Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), tracks him down.  Little does David know, transporting oneself is frowned upon by, I guess, the religious right.

Helping him fill in some of the gaps is Griffin (Jamie Bell), who wants to plan terrorist attacks and such.  And like every love story, David has to keep the transporting secret away from Millie, and hope that his loved ones don’t get killed.  Oh, and figure out those mommy issues.

The main problem with Jumper is that it’s nearly all effect, with absolutely no compelling story.  It just happens that these guys can transport, people hate them for it, and so it goes.  It’s not like The Matrix where the reasons for the action is, oh, fate of the world and discovering the truth about our existence.  In fact, nothing really hinges on Roland being successful and wiping out the Jumpers.  We would continue to enjoy our morning coffee and paper, and probably feel a bit safer, too.

I like Rachel Bilson a lot and hope to date her one day, but her cuteness doesn’t buoy this movie to watchable.  What the hell happened with this flick?  Oh yeah, look no further than David S. Goyer, who has a terrible track record, as does co-writer Simon Kinberg.  Doug Liman is only as good as his material; he couldn’t do anything with this.


Comment from KW
Time: February 15, 2008, 4:15 pm

This was the line in your review that stood out to me:
“The main problem with Jumper is that it’s nearly all effect, with absolutely no compelling story. ”

That’s exactly what my fear was when I saw the trailer. All style, no substance. Too bad, too…because Liman is good.

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