Vantage Point

02/13/2008 12:00 AM |

Vantage Point recalls Wendy’s "Baconator" burger – crammed with all sorts of tasty crap, cheesy, overly indulgent, a guilty pleasure that’s "so bad, it’s good." This action flick, centering around an assassination attempt on the U.S. President, really has it all: a convoluted yet vague back-story involving terrorists, bombs, an aging Secret Service agent on the verge of a nervous breakdown, crying journalists, guns, a kind-hearted tourist, betrayal, a little girl eating an ice cream cone – you name it – with its dizzying plot divvied up into a whopping eight (eight!) different perspectives.

But like a nightmarish Groundhog Day, every single one of the eight vignettes tiresomely ends with an abrupt cliffhanger (on more than one occasion, Dennis Quaid, as the Secret Service man, spots something shocking off-screen, wails with utter despair, "Oh my God! OH MY GOD!" and tears ass), fades to white with a rapid-rewind sequence, and starts anew with the opening assassination sequence — again and again and again. And again.

One of the greatest redeeming factors is Quaid, playing the frazzled Agent Barnes, who, if you squint a little, resembles some kind of grizzled, indestructible RoboCop/William Shatner hybrid that emerges from bullet wounds and bombings alike with only a deeply creased scowl and nostrils flaring for justice. And combined with a few clever red herrings and fantastically intense action shots including a heart palpitation-inducing car chase, it doesn’t seem quite so bad that Sigourney Weaver’s role is completely forgettable and that Forest Whitaker is reduced to portraying a dopey "aw shucks"-y tourist (oddly resembling Sloth from The Goonies) whose recklessly selfless actions are just inexplicable. Harder to swallow are the countless hyper-cliché lines ("Where’s my brother?!") and how the "puzzle pieces" of the fragmented plot come together so perfectly in the end.

Opens February 22