Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I.T.: Pierce Brosnan’s Life Gets Hacked

Someone should warn Mike Regan the women you meet through online chats sometimes turn out to be men. The corporate jet magnate just isn’t very computer savvy. He is about to reveal his smart home passwords to his company’s new systems temp. In doing so, he will learn a perennial management lesson. Good help is definitely hard to find in John Moore’s I.T. (trailer here), which opens this Friday in New York.

Regan is about to take his firm public to raise capital for his uber-for-private-jets app. Rather embarrassingly his launch event is nearly sabotaged by technical glitches, but Ed Porter, the new socially awkward temp saves the day. Impressed by his resourcefulness and full of his own fake egalitarianism, Regan invites him over to the house to speed up the wifi and do other computer stuff. At this point, he should be writing his own ticket to full time employment and quick promotion, but his horrendous misunderstanding of boundaries ruins all his good credit. Since he continues to do creepy stuff, like showing up to cheer on the Regan’s prep school daughter in her field hockey game, his almost-mentor cans him. Feeling betrayed, Porter uses all his backdoors and Trojans to makes the Regans’ lives absolutely miserable.

For about ten minutes, I.T. gets smart when Michael Nyqvist blows into town as Henrik, the mysterious “cleaner,” who specializes in shutting down cyber menaces like Porter. Unfortunately, it soon reverts back to its previous dumb self. When it comes to stupidity in Don Kay & William Wisher’s screenplay, nobody can touch the moronic cops, who bizarrely identify immediately with the twitchy computer nerd rather than the wealthy airplane dude. At one point, Regan’s real I.T. department suggests Porter might be able to crash their planes out of the sky, but they never follow up on this potentially catastrophic plot point.

As Regan, Pierce Brosnan sort of plays his age without giving up on playing good guy-leading mean. Nyqvist is slyly droll as the Cleaner, while James Frecheville does some of his best work yet (certainly compared to Adore and Animal Kingdom, in which everyone else just overwhelmed him) as the staggeringly inappropriate Porter. However, they are just working with a screenplay that is dumber than a bag full of hammers.

Seriously, the logic of I.T.’s narrative collapses faster than Hillary Clinton on a day in the mid-eighties. In feels like a throwback to mid-1990s films like The Net that were just discovering the shenanigans that sometimes happen online. It might have gotten more benefit of the doubt then, but it just feels shopworn now. Therefore, I.T. just isn’t recommendable when it opens this Friday (9/23) in New York, at the Cinema Village.