I know, I know. That’s a pretty massive call. Some of you probably don’t even think Jumper is the worst screenplay of 2008. While there are some strong contenders up against Jumper (The Love Guru, One Missed Call), this is the one that has stayed with me – annoying me on a semi-daily basis.
For those lucky enough NOT to have seen Jumper, here is the basic jist. Hayden “Movie-Killer” Christensen plays David, a young guy who discovers he can ‘jump’ to anywhere in the world, anytime (provided he’s been there before). He decides to use his power to rob banks and hit on foreign women. Oh, and TO STAND ON THE CLOCK FACE OF BIG BEN. Because apparently that’s everyone’s ultimate fantasy.
Okay, I’ll relent, slightly. It may not be the WORST screenplay ever written – but I have to say, I’m pretty sure it’s the dumbest. Don’t believe me? Observe as we break it down for you, and jump … through plot holes, that is!
Exhibit A) The Opening Monologue
“Let me tell you about my day so far. Coffee in Paris, surfed the Maldives, took a little nap on Kilimanjaro. Oh, yeah, I got digits from this Polish chick in Rio. And then I jumped back for the final quarter of the N.B.A. finals–courtside of course. And all that was before lunch. I could go on, but all I’m saying is, I’m standing on top of the world.”
This is how we are introduced to David – the smuggest most unlikeable ‘hero’ since, oh I don’t know, Anakin Skywalker? He follows this up by calling the audience “chumps”, because we don’t enjoy having a nap 19,000 ft above sea level. How would that be pleasant? This monologue captures the stupidness of this movie completely. Like, just magically appearing courtside at the NBA finals. Is he invisible too? No. In fact, no one see’s him ‘jump’ anywhere – whether its in the middle of the crowd, or on top of the damn Sphinx. I hated this guy four sentences into the film.
“…and no sunscreen!”
Exhibit B) How Lazy is this Jerk?
There is an entire sequence of David jumping – literally, centimetres – around his house; reaching for the remote, opening the fridge. Ooooh. What a mystical and impressive power. He must be saving seconds from his daily activities!
Exhibit C) The Paladins
The Paladins are a secret sect headed by an embarrasingly blonde Samuel L. Jackson. They have been hunting Jumpers since before the Middle Ages. They use a kind-of electric lasso to keep Jumpers from getting away. Wait. What? The Middle Ages? How the hell would they hunt Jumpers in the Middle Ages?
Exhibit D) And the girlfriend!
David first discovered his powers after falling through an ice covered lake as a teen. Everyone thought he had died – including the unrequited love of his life. Turns out he just jumped to the nearest library. He runs off without telling anyone that he survived, only to reappear four years later, when the Paladins begin to hunt him. He decides THAT is the best time to re-enter the life of the only girl he ever loved, Rachel Bilson.
“Hey David, thanks for needlessly endangering my life!”
“(Grinding teeth) Shut up. Just shut up.”
The complete indifference she experiences when she discovers David is still alive is pretty strange. What’s stranger is that she instantly agrees to go on an impromptu trip to Rome with David. We then have to watch at least 15 eye-tearingly boring minutes of David and Rachel Bilson seeing the sites of Rome (Apparently, Jumpers also have special-door-unlocking abilities that mean they can break into … the Colosseum. Uh yeaaaah.)
Exhibit E) The Other Jumper
The Other Jumper is played by Jamie Bell, and is probably even less discreet a jumper than David. For instance – he ‘jumps’ a Ferrari right through the window of a car dealership and into the middle of a busy street. Later on, he throws a double decker bus from London all the way to the Tunisian desert. Was anyone on the bus? Did anyone report the incident to the press?
Exhibit F) The Inane Dialogue
“I just came through your jump scar!”
I’m not even going to attempt to explain that.
So there you have it. Now there is nothing wrong with a movie creating a fantasy world – even a fantasy world within the real world. Except Jumper has no rules to its own universe. I would not have been surprised if the Jumpers could turn off gravity – that’s how stupid this film is. I award Jumper the following verdict:
Dumbest Screenplay Ever.
Hayden Christensen is sentenced to be hated by everyone (again). Rachel Bilson is to disappear for 15 years until the inevitable “The O.C – The New Generation”. And Director Doug Liman – you are sentenced to film the second and third parts of your proposed Jumper trilogy. Spending 10 years making films about Jumpers. That is a hell of a punishment.