“Paranoia” would more aptly be titled “Boredom” as this movie delivers more of the latter than the former. Liam Hemsworth stars as a high tech company entry-level employee named Adam. He blows a presentation to Nicolas Wyatt, the working class but now powerful Brit who owns the company, and gets his whole team fired. He then treats them to a night out at an expensive club on the company’s credit card in a long scene of no interest culminating in an all too convenient meet cute with a young woman (Amber Heard) who will marginally factor into the story later. With the threat of credit card fraud over his head, Adam takes a job with Wyatt’s rival Jock Goddard in order to commit corporate espionage for Wyatt.
Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford play the corporate titans Wyatt and Goddard. Oldman’s performance is louder and nastier than Ford’s quiet strength, but they are equally icy, particularly during a semi-polite sparring match. Richard Dreyfuss also joins the cast as Adam’s ailing father. It’s a mostly disposable part that Dreyfuss actually makes interesting. In fact, were it not for these three veterans’ screen time, “Paranoia” would be a total snoozer.
The forced romance angle between Hemsworth and Heard is dull and brings things to a complete halt whenever the action shifts to them. Peripheral characters such as an FBI agent played by “Lost’s” Josh Holloway and a sinister thug named Meechum (Julian McMahon) are never as fully developed or utilized in the story as they could be. And though we are expecting or at least hoping for Adam and his tech wizard friends to bring down the evil empire, even that delivers a bunt rather than a home run.
As for the character of Adam, he’s unnecessarily hard on his father, self-centered and seems to catch onto things a bit late in the game considering his technical background. And he’s never actually hampered with the title’s paranoia but simply becomes fearful as he learns more about his situation. Ultimately the movie feels like kids playing at a serious adult thriller with some older wiser stars cast to give it some oomph.