In what could've been called Patriot Act: The Movie, "Eagle Eye" serves us a fresh plate of paranoia, but can't make up its mind between being a political thriller entree or a tech heavy action dessert.
Before it steals from the table of tech icons "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "War Games," we're shown well-traveled slacker Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf), an employee of "Copy Cabana", hustling his co-workers in poker as a way of paying the rent...that he still can't pay. After attending the funeral of his twin brother, he comes home to find that he's got $750,000 in his bank account and enough weapons and ammonium nitrate to bomb a country and then fertilize it. Before he can read all the labels on his new stockpile, he's warned by a mysterious voice on the phone that the Feds are coming.
Rachel (Michelle Monaghan) is the perfect MILF without a cause. She's a good single mom who ships her son to perform in front of the President while she hangs out with her Sexless in the City friends. No sooner than she can down her first low-cost Cosmo that she's told by the same mysterious voice to follow her directions or her kid's life will be in jeopardy.
She meets up with a recently escaped Jerry and you know what's next...Road Trip! But not a good one. Hitchcock would be proud of the first half hour that keeps us looking around the next corner, but then he'd call his lawyers. While director D.J. Caruso ("Disturbia") gives us enough explosions and near misses to whet our appetite, we realize too soon that it's only to cover a weak story about an out of control computer with more intelligence and character than the two main characters.
Billy Bob Thorton cleans up really well in his best Tommy Lee Jones impression. He has the best lines and deserves them since Monaghan and Lebouf just phoned this one in (pun intended). Watching Lebouf try to get tough with Monaghan illustrates why he should stick to talking cars. Rosario Dawson as Air Force investigator Zoe does her best job at showing she's not another pretty face as she battles the evil megacomputer Aria, but it just adds to the unintentional silliness.
"Eagle Eye" is based on a Steven Spielberg concept of technology run amok. Unfortunately, over the years, it's been worked on by an army of writers including two that scripted "Transformers." This type of cinematic incest works fine if you're Judd Apatow, but Shia Lebouf is no Seth Rogen and this is no thriller. When the credits roll, you won't be scared of Big Sister watching you, but you'll be terrified that they may make a sequel.
Now, that's scary.
Billy Tatum gives "Eagle Eye" 2 (out of 5) Scoops.
Running time: 118 minutes. Rated PG-13 (profanity, violence).