I was in shock when I first heard the news of a thriller set entirely around a Times Square phone booth, potentially starring Jim Carrey. Then, of course, I learned that Carrey was out and Colin Farrell and director Joel Schumacher were in. My level of anticipation dropped considerably, but there was still that kick-ass gimmick to look forward to.
Well, it turns out that Phone Booth rides the coattails of that gimmick right through the finish line. It's a good movie, but only because it would take a dozen over-caffeinated chimpanzees to make an 85-minute film about a man, terrorized by a mysterious caller aiming a rifle, unengaging. Boring, it isn't. What it is: too overstuffed with camera tricks and too prone to logical fallacies and questionable moral judgements. But even if you don't buy into the assertion that a guy kills several people, puts a law-abiding citizen through a living hell, and blockades Times Square for two hours, there's still plenty of fun to be had here. Colin Farrell becomes memorably unhinged, and Forest Whitaker is dignity itself as the cop who rushes to the scene when people start dying. Look, it's less than ninety minutes of your life. Do you want a thriller about a guy trapped in a phone booth? Well, that's what you get. But it could have been great.