'Lucy': Even the supersmart protagonist probably couldn't explain this movie

'Lucy' stars Scarlett Johansson as an American expat in Taiwan whose brain power is increased.

Jessica Forde/Universal Pictures/AP
'Lucy' stars Scarlett Johansson (r.) and Morgan Freeman (l.).

Luc Besson makes nonsensical movies and so, of course, he was the perfect writer-director for “Lucy,” a Scarlett Johansson headliner about an American expat in Taiwan who runs afoul of the local mob and ends up accidentally ingesting a blue crystal drug – don’t ask – and becoming supersmart. 

We’re not talking the usual 10% brainpower smart here. As the action ramps up, the screen flashes her ascending cerebral wattage: first 20% (putting her on a par with dolphins, apparently) and then moving on up the scale to 100%, at which point she can do just about anything – except, I would wager, make sense of this movie. 

I know we’re supposed to think that Besson’s daffy cinematic calisthenics are entertaining because at least they are not boring. But I was bored. It didn’t help that Morgan Freeman shows up as a brainy scientist explaining everything to us in his deepest intonations. When was the last time Freeman, a great actor, really acted? 

And what’s up with Johansson’s casting choices lately? She was terrific in “Her” as a disembodied computer program and eerie as an alien in “Under the Skin.” Now this. I guess for her the abnormal is the new normal. Grade: C (Rated R for strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality.)

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