starring Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Camilla Belle, Djimon Hounsou
screenplay by David Bourla
directed by Paul McGuigan
by Walter Chaw Here's the thing: I like Paul McGuigan's movies. They're facile, it's true, eye candy--if, on occasion (Wicker Park), brilliant eye candy--and slick genre pieces that aren't really about anything in the sense that they aren't at all resonant in any meaningful way. He's done a Hitchcock (Wicker Park again) and a gangster flick (Gangster No. 1) and a costume epic (The Reckoning) and a caper (Lucky Number Slevin), and now with Push he's done his superhero flick; and not a one of them has something to say outside itself. They're post-modern in that sense, pure genre pieces reliant entirely on our conversance with the medium to provide their form and function. They're feature-length music videos--and I mean this as a compliment--that hum along with a kick-ass soundtrack, sexy imagery, and the ghost of a narrative to string it all together. They go down easy and there's not much of an aftertaste. That being said, Push doesn't benefit from familiarity: the craft is excellent, there are moments in it that harbour tremendous potential, but at the end of the day it's just another superhero movie that suffers from not having Bryan Singer's alienation issues or Christopher Nolan's existential identity crisis. What works in McGuigan's other work as a nice corrective to genres burdened by too much close scholarship washes out in Push as either too late or, more likely, too soon. In any case, what plagues the film is that it lacks much in the way of difference.