News

REVIEW: Scarlett Johansson gets brainy in ‘Lucy’

REVIEW: Scarlett Johansson gets brainy in ‘Lucy’

Photo: Associated Press/Universal Pictures

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi | Run Time: 90 min | Rated: R
Director: Luc Besson | Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi

By: George Wolf of Maddwolf.com

Nearly ten years ago, Wedding Crashers taught us the best response to “people use only ten percent of our brains” is…”I think we use only ten percent of our hearts.”

Still, writer/director Luc Besson bases his new film Lucy on that old urban legend, and what might happen if someone could suddenly flex four, five or even ten times more grey matter muscle.

A ridiculous premise doesn’t have to sink a film, and this one actually gets off to a solid start as Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) unwillingly becomes a drug mule for ruthless Korean kingpin Mr. Jang (the always fascinating Min-sik Choi).

Jang’s henchman surgically stash a bag of his new product into Lucy’s abdomen, but the pouch breaks when she suffers a beating. In just minutes, the drug settles into Lucy’s bloodstream and begins opening countless new cognitive horizons.

It doesn’t take long to realize how much better this film is because of Johansson. She provides the terror-filled vulnerability to make us care about her character early on, then projects the right amount of wonder and determination as Lucy seeks out a famed brain researcher (Morgan Freeman, straight from Transcendence) to assist in her transformation.

Besson gets busy from the outset, as quick cuts and frenetic action are interspersed with scenes of animals in the wild, reinforcing the changing roles we see between hunter and prey. While not exactly subtle, it is stylish, and downright abstract compared to what Besson brings to the film’s second act.

As his characters begin to lament how we’ve all become more concerned with “having than being,” Besson shamelessly parrots Malick’s Tree of Life and Kubrick’s 2001, apparently believing the film to be an equally eloquent statement on mankind’s past, purpose, and future.

It isn’t, but with about 50 percent less pretension, Lucy could have been a fun guilty pleasure.

Verdict-2-5-Stars

Read more reviews by George Wolf and Hope Madden on Maddwolf.com.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Dec. 19

Fresh
dolly

A look back at some of Hollywood's most memorable headlines.

in Entertainment

Third ‘Night at the Museum’ marks final film for Williams, Rooney

nightatthemuseum

The credits for "Secret of the Tomb," which opens Friday, read "In loving memory of Mickey Rooney," and "For Robin Williams - the magic never ends."

in Music

Ray Price’s widow opens up after loss

FILE - In a Jan. 7, 2011, file photo, Country Music Hall of Fame member and Grammy Award winner Ray Price celebrates his 86th birthday by performing in Bullard Texas. Price, one of country music's most popular and influential singers and bandleaders who had more than 100 hits and was one of the last living connections to Hank Williams, died Monday, Dec. 16, 2013. He was 87.

Ray Price's widow refused to leave her house for four months in the aftermath of her husband's death.

in Entertainment

Chris Pratt thought ‘Guardians’ would be a box office flop

Guardians Of The Galaxy

The "Parks and Rec" star was very, very wrong.

in Entertainment

Sony cancels ‘The Interview’ in win for N. Korean hackers

interview

The $44 million raunchy comedy was scheduled to debut on Christmas Day.