Oh no, it’s really bad when the press notes are more exciting than the movie. The first few pages of the press packet for “Push” explain that a Mover is someone who can push things with his mind, and a Watcher can see the future and Stitches can heal and Shifts can make things turn into anything else, but only for a limited time. The problem is that in the movie itself a lot of this crucial information is either glossed over, or ignored completely to the average viewer and they’re left on their own to figure out the limitations of the powers of these mutants who are sought out by a secretive governmental agency.
Chris Evans (who was hot as the Torch in the “Fantastic Four” films) stars as Nick Grant, who saw his father die a decade before in the hands of government agent Henry Carver, played by Djimon Hounsou—the double-Oscar nominee who’s watchable in anything he does as long as it isn’t sci-fi or fantasy (like “Eragon,” “The Island,” or “Constantine”). Evans grows up and disappears into the populace of Hong Kong (which in itself is incredible, because how this tall white boy blends in – no matter how good his Mandarin is – seems rather unbelievable). His father tells him to watch out for a girl asking for help that brings him a flower.
Poor Nick doesn’t get out much, so the chances of that happening are slim, until teenager Cassie comes knocking (yeah, and she eventually has a rose in her hand). Cassie is the coming-of-age character for Dakota Fanning, who is destined to follow the career path of Jodie Foster. She’s uncomfortably sexy with her red-streaked hair and pouty eyes, and it’s obvious that Nick seems a little put off by her company.
They set off on an unspecific adventure of finding a girl that may or may not have been Nick’s girlfriend – see, there’s this mind-control thing that plants memories in people’s heads, but it’s just too complicated to try to explain. They somehow try to remain inconspicuous as they stroll through a fish market to get some food, but guess what? They get picked out pretty easily. Then, the villains are these scary guys who scream so loud they make people’s ears bleed – both funny and creepy at the same time.
My first-grade nephew loved the movie, and recommends it to his friends, despite the PG-13 rating and the more than two hours running time. I really wanted to like it, but found myself flipping through the press notes in the dark to try to read some more of the interesting stuff. Bad sign.
I give this two jets, and that’s “Push”-ing it.
Stars: Dakota Fanning, Chris Evans, Djimon Hounsou, Camille Belle
Director: Paul McGuigan
Release date: 2/6/09
Studio/Official Site: www.push-themovie.com
[Mike Szymanski is a Hollywood-based freelance writer and author who has written for “Entertainment Weekly,” “USA Today,” the “Los Angeles Times,” and many websites.]