8. PHONE BOOTH (2002)
Phone Booth didn’t have to suck. On paper, the Joel Schumacher-directed thriller has an intriguing premise: Presented in “real time,” it’s about a douchebag publicist (played by our boy Farrell) who answers a random payphone, is greeted by a sniper, and told that he’ll be shot if he ends the call. Only 80 minutes long, Phone Booth is just the right length, yet its brevity is wasted by a ridiculous performance from Sir Farrell and a brainless script.
To be fair, Farrell isn’t the biggest problem in Phone Booth; yes, his laughable “New Yawk” accent is distractingly bad, but the miscasting could be overlooked if he wasn’t in such a ludicrous movie. In order to expand the single-setting movie’s scope, Schumacher resorts to an overly busy assortment of split screens, slow-motion, and mini-pictures-within-the-big-picture devices; the cops on the scene allow a mob-sized crowd to hang around the phone booth the entire time, and, worst of all, the entire film boils down to a morality lesson that culminates with Farrell sobbing through apologies to people to whom he really hasn’t done anything that bad.
For such a short movie, Phone Booth does an awful lot wrong.