Although Relativity’s "Paranoia" is being positioned as a techno/espionage thriller hybrid, the film is, in reality, a rudimentary, paint-by-numbers piece of fluff. My guess is that Relativity Media must have needed something on its slate for the weekend of August 16th; otherwise, this would have gone straight to DVD.
Whiz kid Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) is your typical workaday twenty-something at billion-dollar technology firm, Wyatt Corp. After bombing miserably in a presentation to the company head, Nicolas Wyatt (Gary Oldman, in full-blown ham mode), Adam decides to lift the spirits of his project teammates by treating them to a night on the town - to the tune of several thousand dollars - on the company credit card. The next day, Adam is confronted by Wyatt and his henchwoman, Judith Bolton (Embeth Davidtz), with the possibility of having committed fraud, of which Wyatt will look the other way if Adam will play ball and become a mole at the company of Wyatt’s bitter rival and former mentor, Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford).
Perhaps naively, Adam consents to Wyatt’s blackmail and soon he finds himself with a $500,000 a year job, luxury apartment and snazzy sports car. For a working-class kid from Brooklyn like Adam, whose father (Richard Dreyfuss - grabbing a paycheck) is sick with emphysema and whose mother is long deceased, this is the stuff that dreams are made of. If you’ve ever seen a rags-to-riches story, you can almost pick off the beats of Adam’s trajectory: he is instantly installed in a fancy office at work, falls in love with a gorgeous colleague (Amber Heard), and begins to neglect his friends. Of course, just when Adam begins to realize the person he is becoming is not the person he wants to be, it is perhaps too late for him to go back.
The story is the same old "Little Guy versus The Man" story you’ve seen thousands of times. There is nothing new on that front. None of the main actors seems to exhibit much effort in his or her parts: Oldman is very, very clearly hamming it up as Wyatt, Ford is his usual gruff self, and Heard is all sexy, upturned eyes. The only principal who makes any sort of impression is Hemsworth, whom the camera absolutely loves. This guy must have the most vibrant, piercing blue eyes since Frank Sinatra. I’m not so sure about his acting, per se, but boy does he look good trying!
Regardless of the hunky Hemsworth, the movie is forgettable and definitely not worth your hard-earned $13 at the theater. "Paranoia" is your standard issue late summer piffle, and even with Hemsworth, Heard, Oldman and Ford, this techno-thriller lacks spark.