Reviewed By Peter Sobczynski
Posted 09/23/16 10:44:01

"No Pennywise But Plenty Of Clowns Here"
1 stars (Sucks)

Remember all those silly suspense films, mostly dating from the Nineties, in which cheerful Yuppies had their seemingly perfect lives infiltrated by people who seemed normal and friendly at first but who eventually turned out to be psychopaths determined to either destroy or somehow replace them—stuff like “Single White Female,” “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle,” “One Hour Photo” and their ilk? Remember all those equally silly techno-thrillers, also dating from that same period, in which screenwriters took their vague knowledge about that sill-emerging phenomenon known as the Internet to construct stories in which people could do practically anything they wanted just by arbitrarily pounding a few random keys on a computer terminal—things like “The Net” and “Hackers”? Have you ever wondered what might have resulted if someone especially unimaginative hacks decided to combine the two genres into one giant bit of suspense-free silliness demonstrating less technological savvy than your average Amish community? If so, then the new thriller “I.T.” should prove to be the film of your dreams, though everyone else is likely to find it to be an equally listless and laughable work that looks and feels like the kind of generic crap that usually turns up on Lifetime, albeit with a slightly larger budget.

Pierce Brosnan, continuing a post-Bond film career of late that even George Lazenby might rightly look down upon, stars as Mike Regan, a self-made aviation entrepreneur on the verge of taking his company public following the introduction of an app that is meant to to be the private airplane equivalent of Uber. Alas, while making a presentation to his board, things get glitchy but his bacon is saved by the fiddlings of I.T. temp Ed (James Frecheville). Naturally, he invites the guy out to his lavish smart house to fix the wifi, where he also gets to meet Mike’s wife Rose (Anna Friel) and teenage daughter Kaitlyn (Stefanie Scott). Alas, in a move that confirms all your suspicions about I.T. people, Ed turns out to be a creepy psychopath and when his attempts to insinuate himself into the lives of the Regans, especially Kaitlyn, are rebuffed, he uses his technological superiority to wreak havoc on them—he threatens Mike’s business dealings by forging documents being sent to the SEC, he mucks with Rose’s mammogram results to make her think she has cancer and films Kaitlyn masturbating in the shower and posts it online. Before long, Mike tries to fight fire with fire via his own hacker (Michael Nyqvist) but eventually, this battle of wills ends in the way that all conflicts of this sort must—with Mike and Ed pounding the crap out of each other while the bound, gagged and underwear-clad women look on helplessly and what appears to be a level 6 hurricane rages.

Words cannot begin to describe just how crappy “I.T.” is on practically every imaginable level but I will certainly give it a shot. For starters, while I suppose that it is a given that Ed eventually turns out to be a nutball, he basically is allowed one early scene of comparative normalcy before immediately going to Ben Foster levels of twitchiness and beyond. That is only one of the many flaws with the abysmally stupid screenplay by Dan Kay and William Wisher in which moments of total idiocy coexist uneasily with others of startling levels of tastelessness. Take the aforementioned moment involving the video of the daughter—who is stated to be 17—in the shower. On its own, this is a fairly sordid and unseemly element—not the act itself, but including it as a cheap plot device—but it gets even worse when Mike learns about it (after it has been sent to all of the students at her school) and his initial move is to suggest that it being posted was her fault even though he already knows by this point that a creep with mad hacking skills and a peculiar obsession with her has been tormenting him. Having made some of the worst major studio films in recent years (including the remake of “The Omen” and “A Good Day to Die Hard”) director John Moore is working on a much smaller scale but still proves himself to be remarkably incompetent behind the camera—there is no sense of suspense or dread to be had at all while the climactic showdown between Mike and Ed is so ridiculously overdone (especially once the inexplicable storm starts blowing through the house itself) that it supplies more laughs than most recent comedies I could mention. As for the actors stuck in this mess, Brosnan looks embarrassed to be there (which is odd considering that he served as one of the producers), the usually delightful Friel is utterly wasted as the wife, Frecheville is actively horrible beyond belief and the presence of Nyqvist only serves as an unfortunate reminder that he once starred in a slightly better film involving a master hacker, the original Swedish version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

“I.T.” is rotten beyond belief and if there was a chance that more than five people would be seeing it, it would be a clear contender for the Worst Film of 2016 title. It is stupid, sleazy and so wildly implausible that it almost feels like a over-the-top spoof of techno-thrillers than a theoretically serious version of one. Unless you have a bizarre desire to see a former James Bond pound the stuffing out of a demented member of the Geek Squad, there is literally nothing of value to be had in this film. Put it this way—you could spend the 95 minutes that it runs on hold waiting to speak to tech support and come away from that knowing that you got the better end of the deal from an entertainment perspective.

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