Is Jumper the Worst Screenplay Ever Written?

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!

“Gosh…LUCKY DUCK!”

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?

Medieval Paladin: “There you are Jumper! I had to stow away in a Merchant ship for THREE YEARS to find you!”

Medieval Jumper: “Alright, you got me.”

Medieval Paladin: “You’re not going to Jump back to England are you? ‘Cos that really would really put a dent in my calender.”

Medieval Jumper: “I promise”

Medieval Paladin: “Alright, well I’ll just tie this rope around your han…”

The Jumper disappears.

Medieval Paladin: “AW DAMNIT! Well that was a waste of time. You know we only have a life expectancy of like 40!”

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.

16 Responses to “Is Jumper the Worst Screenplay Ever Written?”

  1. Dear God – I thought I was the only one – glad to find out that I’m not the only one permanently (jump) scared by this film. Woeful.

  2. I’m loving the new found attitude and sarcasm! Great writeup.You should try and get your Jumper article at Cracked.com – they pay you cash and it could help promote Quickflix.Maybe it would need to be a bit longer, but I’m sure you could dissect a couple more movies just as well as this Doug Liman lemon.Adam Q

  3. What I find particularly disappointing about Jumper is that deep in the unfathomable reaches of incompetence there’s some semblance of a sci-fi nugget. It could’ve been a good story to tell about the price of absolute, unfettered freedom. It could’ve opened up so many possibilities in many directions, a satisfying escapist entertainment explored with purpose and presented with artistry. Instead, it’s anything but. Who are these mysterious Paladians on a mission to kill him? How did his mother get the power? Why is he so lazy that he teleports himself on the couch to get the remote, or a mere two steps to the fridge? Why is there no context to the story? Why does Samuel L Jackson have such a dreadful hairstyle?Simon, do you think they should even think about making a sequel, let alone two?

  4. i think you’re completely right patrick, but part of me thinks this is the kind of movie that actually REQUIRES a sequel. Mainly because the first film is such indecipherable rubbish.i totally agree with you in the fact that there is a great idea somewhere in this film. and it can be done well – just look at X-Men 2 – Nightcrawler is essentially a jumper.part of me wonders: “well, Doug Liman is a good director – maybe over the course of 3 films he could actually give the concept of the Jumper some weight, explain the historical backgrounds of the paladin/jumper war, and maybe even improve the mistakes made in the first one and give us a good action sequence”.Truth is, the cast is so awful, I dont think i could stand to watch another film with these characters. So I’m torn. If I had to make a call, i would say – make a sequel. But everyone would have to lift their game in a massive way.And i’ll be damned if I pay to see it at the cinema.

  5. They’ve made such a sad mess of the first one, I wonder if anyone would be keen to see Part 2. By the way, Simon, do you mind if I ask how you get a cool job like this writing about movies? Where do I start?

  6. Oh, wow. No one’s ever asked me for career-esque advice before. I’ll do my best.First of all – be friends with people who already have cool jobs. Then guilt them into giving you a job too.Now if you don’t know anyone with a cool job, here is some real advice:Start your own blog. It’s easy, and it’s free. Sure, you may not have heaps of readers to begin with. But if you provide new and interesting content, people will find you. Now to get paid for it – This is the tricky part, and something I won’t be able to give too much advice on. All i can say is – think of the kind of jobs you want, then try to get some work experience in those positions, or see if there are related casual/part-time roles available. Again, if you’re interested in specifically WRITING about movies, build a portfolio. Depending on the job/company, your blog entries might not hold ALOT of weight – but its something, and its more than some people who haven’t written before. Also, try to get involved with local/university papers. Published works DO have a certain prestige about them, and for the most part, local papers are looking for writers. I hope this helps Patrick. Sometimes a little bit of menial (or even unpaid) work is required. But if you love movies, than damn anyone who tries to stop you from having your say about them. And if you have something to say, definitely start a blog, and make sure you send us a link or post it in the comments section in the near future.good luck!

  7. This film was based on a young adult novel. It’s a dodgy film, but the original story was a little more interesting.

  8. I’m surprised you lot had such high expectations of this film. I agree it’s trashy but it sure isn’t boring… it’s just a typical mindless yank film using the decades old recipe. Just add huge budget and attractive leads, some romance, lots of action and violence, and you make lots of dollars… *shrugs*Oh, and Patrick, I think you need to look up “Science Fiction”. This is more of a fantasy action film, as it is not based primarily on science (unless you think groovy mind powers are factual and accepted by the scientific community).

  9. I think Patrick alluded to it first… The thing that bugs me about this film is it had such potential (granted not on the acting front), the idea, the concept they could have gone anywhere with it – instead it is full of holes, unexplained concepts, oh and did I mention bad bad acting. Can’t Anakin play anything but a love sick dweeb?I agree a sequel is needed but lets fire all the actors apart from Samuel L and start again…

  10. I DUNNO WHAT YOU’RE ALL ON ABOUT… THIS WAS ONE OF THE BEST SCI-FI FILMS OF THE YEAR. SOME PEOPLE TAKE THINGS WAY TOO SERIOUSLY! JUMPER ROCKS!!!

  11. Hey Simon, thank you so much for taking the time and trouble with the tips and advice. I really do appreciate it!

  12. I’m torn. Between and this and Eragon. I’m not sure which was worse. Like so many movies the concept was great but then just fell flat.

  13. Lol!Nice work… love your honesty and sarcasm!

  14. Clearly this so called critic knows zero about film or film making if he did he would have heard of a film term “suspension of disbelief”. Jumpers is fiction does he not understand the very concept of fiction.I agree it could have been a bit better but I though it was enjoyable escapism and that is all it was ever meant to be and I for one are sick of people running down Hayden Christiansen’s acting abilities. Check out a film called Life As A House (2001), where he gives a moving and brilliant performance an actor can’t be held responsible for so called poor dialogue. I for one would look forward to a Jumpers sequel perhaps with a bit more background and an opportunity to flesh out the story but for all you know the director may have put in that background but genius studio excutives may have insisted on that being cut out to make it a “shorter more watchable” film.

  15. well thanks for that Andrew. ‘suspension of disbelief’ is one thing – but bad filmmaking is another thing completely (and yes, it is possible studio intervention could have also played a part). The whole idea of a sci-fi film is to create a different world, and have a set of rules that the world abides by. See: Blade Runner, The Matrix, Gattaca, Battlestar Galactica (tv) etc. Jumper does not fit into this group because it does not stick to its own rules. It tries to establish them, but then contradicts almost every single one. Most importantly, a film cannot convince a viewer to suspend their disbelief, when the characters do not act like real human beings. The motivations of the characters in Jumper seem to be completely random. Watch Battlestar Galactica, and it doesn’t matter what crazy stuff is going on, because the characters seem real.Therefore – Jumper=MASSIVE FAIL. It is an awful awful awful film. P.S – Hayden Christiansen is also excellent in a film called Shattered Glass. That is definitely worth checking out. However, his performance in Jumper is a blight on the art of acting.

  16. Come on, this film is the best sci-fi movie in 2009. That’s it all, end.

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