The Phone Booth (2003)
Main cast: Colin Farrell (Stu Shepard), Kiefer Sutherland (The Caller), Forest Whitaker (Captain Ramey), Radha Mitchell (Kelly Shepard), and Katie Holmes (Pamela McFadden)
Director: Joel Schumacher


Joel Schumacher has made another rubbish work out of a potentially good premise. How did this hack keep getting work? And however dressed Colin Farrell up that way should be tarred and kicked out of Hollywood in a barrell. And whoever cast that ultra-annoying Forest Whitaker should be terminated on sight with extreme prejudice. This sniper movie is much delayed after someone started shooting people in Washington - asshole - and I wonder if they tampered with the script while the movie is rotting away in the store room.

Stu Shepard is a Hollywood PR guy. The movie makes it so clearly that he is a jerk, they not only dress him up like your stereotypical evil Italian-Jew mafia loser - all that's missing are those thick gold chains around his neck and that ten-inch wide Rolex on each wrist - they also make him scream four-lettered words at stupid pizza men who knock on the door while he is trying to arrange a rendezvous with a young woman (Pamela) in the phone booth. Personally, anyone who knocks on my door while I am plotting Evil to sell me pizza deserves a four-lettered word and more, but hey, what do I know?

This pizza guy gets mad and runs up to a tall building, aims a rifle at Stu in the phone booth, and makes Stu do stupid things. However, things get sticky when a pimp, wanting to get Stu out of the phone booth to placate his hos, ends up shot dead. The police comes, and Stu is stuck in the phone booth unable to explain himself. If he hangs up, he's dead. Or someone around him will die.

The trouble is, Stu hangs up halfway in this movie. This is one stupid move - this scene immediately proves that the rifle-totting caller is not only bluffing and full of hot air, he is also a moron, because now the cops know that Stu isn't the one who killed the pimp. After this point, the movie turns tedious, repetitious, and annoying. Whitaker's "Look at me, I'm wise, I'm deep, I'm sweet!" acting also makes me feel like wringing somebody's neck to exorcise the rising demon in me.

Frankly, I am enjoying this movie all the way until Stu hangs up the phone for the first time. Sometimes a movie makes a mistake and recovers gracefully. But in the case of The Phone Booth, it is too fatal a mistake. It calls the bluff of a sinister villain, turning the villain into a petulant, sulky child, and ruins the taut atmosphere of the movie. Looks like Schumacher's bunghole has swallowed another movie.

Rating: 50


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