After scoring big in a special-effects bonanza about shape-shifting robot-cars from outer space, Shia LaBeouf apparently decided that he needed to make a movie that was really far-fetched and ridiculous. He's found one in D.J. Caruso's achingly idiotic cyber-thriller Eagle Eye, a big-budget, high-concept audience-insulter that begins preposterously and grows increasingly nonsensical until it's the unintentional laugh riot of the year, or at least the season. Executive producer Steven Spielberg reportedly came up with the premise, but being a savvy businessman, he wisely pawned his bad idea off to the not-so-great Caruso.
LaBeouf stars as an unusually aggressive copy-shop employee who begins receiving mysterious cell-phone calls from a female voice that begins ordering him around with the infernal condescension of the cyber-shrew who voices GPS guidance systems. This sinister voice represents an entity with godlike powers, who forces LaBeouf and hard-luck single mother Michelle Monaghan to do its incredibly convoluted bidding. Under its sadistic guidance, LaBeouf instantly morphs from black-sheep fuck-up and wage slave to a daring, fearless cross between James Bond and Jackie Chan.
Caruso and his battery of screenwriters try to keep audiences so distracted and disoriented by a never-ending onslaught of stunts, explosions, and car crashes (Eagle Eye threatens Blues Brothers' record for most gratuitous car crashes and most smashed police vehicles in a film set partially in Chicago) that they won't pay attention to the aggregation of plot holes that constitutes the film's script. The film aims for 2001 by way of a paranoid '70s conspiracy thriller, but ends up somewhere closer to Short Circuit crossed with Enemy Of The State. Just because a film exploits widespread fear of computers and their ubiquity doesn't mean it should feel like it was created by the Gimmicktron Hackbot 3000 screenplay-writing program. As a thriller about technology run amok and a government that spies on its citizens to nefarious ends, Eagle Eye should boast all sorts of contemporary resonance. But it'd probably feel just a little bit timelier and more relevant if it took place in a universe that bore even the faintest resemblance to our own.