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Phone Booth

Starring: Colin Farrell, Forest Whitaker, Radha Mitchell, Katie Holmes and Keifer Sutherland.
Directed by: Joel Schumacher
Rated:R
Colin Farrell Interview

 

Phone Booth is an odd little film…it's about an hour and ten minutes long and a tad bipolar. On one hand you have an incredible performance by the "it" man of film, Colin Farrell. Farrell manages to show how he can captivate completely and single handily keeps the film completely watchable - even addictively enjoyable - though we basically stare at a phone booth the entire time. Then there's a wasted mega talented Forest Whitaker strolling through Cop 101 helping to deliver this frustrating story ….I say frustrating because it should have been brilliant. That's why I'm being a b**ch and handing in the low star rating - I hate star ratings anyway so why not play with it?

Story goes Stu Shepard (Colin Farrell) is a fast talking smooth negotiating publicist in New York City. He wheels and deals publicity for his clients like an Indie 500 racer. His assistant, or intern, watches trying to absorb the art form. In a matter of a ten minute walk through Times Square Stu has booked a cover of a magazine for one client, tricked a tabloid into printing an article about his other client, managed to book a trendy eatery on a big event night - and have that restaurant supply the 80 meals on their dime - for yet another …. he's good - real good - at what he does.

He sends his assistant off to deliver a bottle of whiskey and a soup recipe to an editor and so the kid can meet the players. This is also a clever ploy to 86 the assistant so Stu can do the horizontal mambo with his mistress. Well call her to set up the "dance."

Here's where the film really starts.

Stu gets into a phone booth (so his wife can not trace his calls) and rings Bedsheet Barbie, aka Pam (Katie Holmes). A sexual soiree is penned into his planner and as he departs the booth thankin' the Blarney for his good fortune, the phone rings and he answers it.

This is not Pam calling back to reconfirm the hotel room number - no - it's a nut job that's decided it is time for Stu to repent for his atrocious sins of deceit and people using. Lesson? Never answer the ringing pay phone - it's never going to be good.

Stu immediately figures it's got to be some hack actor he wouldn't help and gives him a piece of his mind. Not a real good idea. Meanwhile just outside the booth, a group of hookers who normally use this particular phone booth for their business conferences need the booth -NOW! At this point Stu is politely told if he hangs up he will be shot from a window above…

Oopsie, this caller is no actor - seems he's a morality judge and jury that has a hair across his ass for liars and a automatic rifle in his hands to punctuate his point.

That's it, that's the story. A man is picked out of millions, accused of crimes against humanity, and a sniper psycho puppets a man's future.

Okay great premise right? Now the bad news…. even the central character Stu asks the sniper, "Why me? Why not a child molester or murderer." The screenwriter Larry Cohen, either wanted to infuriate the alert or didn't see the great opportunity of a twist he had here dangling before him. Make the guy guilty of some secret hideous crime. Give us the "Frailty Slap!" But no. He makes Stu a hard working publicist. Their jobs, in case your unaware, is to get their client press. They are skilled manipulators certainly less cruel than say, an agent or lawyer or ….I was a tad thrown with the vigilante choosing him. In the first ten minutes of the film we saw a smooth business man just doing his job - and doing it well. He also gave hos assistant money for a suit to better the assistant's career and managed to assist four clients in their dreams. Sure the guy cheats but that's no reason to kill the man....argh. Vigilante boy picked the wrong guy….

Then there were all those dumb moves the police made once they were on the scene. I mean if you watch "Law and Order" (the Vincent D' Onofrio one) you'd know immediately the dude in the booth is on the phone with "someone" he can not hang up on. That and the fact that two other folks in the two weeks before we shot by an unknown sniper within a three block radius. Double argh!

But let's focus on the plus side, like say, this adorable crumpet of studmuffin Mr. Colin Farrell. Who wouldn't want to dip him in Magic Shell© brand butterscotch topping and slowly nibble if off whilst Irish love songs for the panflute tinkle on the victrola? Sure he's got a notorious potty mouth - using the word F*** like an adverb - and sleeps around like a Tomcat in Crete - but just look at him…..purr. It's a well-known scientific that fact bad boys equal good sex. And as an added mansteak bonus? He's super talented. This film truly lets him prove to Farrell disbelievers he's worthy of all the hubaloo.

Forest Whitaker is just wasted. Any one could have played this "cop."

Phone Booth has its moments and Colin shines throughout, but it's just too weird with television-like narration and bad structure that make it more like a excellent "Twilight Zone" episode rather than a Joel Schumacher film. Wait for video kiddies!

Snack recommendation: Pizza and another movie

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