Everybody who watches movies for fun sometimes watches them as time-killers. When it's Saturday night and I ain't got nobody, nothing fills in a couple of hours better than one of those mutant-insect movies on the Sci Fi Channel. "Something to do" is a good part of the definition of "B movie."

Which isn't to say that B movies of this sort have to be bargain bin excrescences on Sci Fi. Some of them are expensive excrescences in theaters. And that brings us, at last, to "Push."

Ten years ago, young Nick Grant watched the sinister Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou, "Blood Diamond") kill his dad. Grant Sr. had paranormal powers and Carver represented "The Division," a government agency working to formulate a serum that, given to paranormals, would heighten their abilities. Grant wouldn't cooperate, so he got it where the chicken got the ax. His parting words to Nick were that he would someday be approached by a girl asking for help, and all kinds of dire things would happen if he refused her.

A decade later, adult Nick (Chris Evans, "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer") meets 13-year old Cassie Holmes (Dakota Fanning, "Coraline"), who wants him to help her retrieve a suitcase with something wonderful inside to trade to The Division for Cassie's mother, who is being held prisoner. They link up with Kira Hudson (Camilla Belle, "10,000 BC") with whom Nick once had a fling at Coney Island, maybe.

Nick is a mover "? he can move things without touching them; Cassie is a watcher "? she can foretell the future unless someone does something to change it, such as foretelling it. Kira can push "? implant thoughts in your mind. This would be especially useful for those of us who can never remember to stop off at the store on the way home.

The picture is one long chase. There's not much plot. In fact, so much time is spent establishing relationships and abilities, one suspects the makers want this to be the first film in a franchise. I doubt that will happen. There's nothing special about the effects. In one scene, Nick uses his mind to control guns that are floating around the room, and the visuals are about as convincing as the ones in "The Invisible Man" 75 years ago.

The actors are fine in that I-went-to-drama-school-for-this way so familiar in these movies, but it does look as if Fanning will make the jump to older teen and adult roles just fine.

The picture is directed by Paul McGuigan ("Lucky Number Slevin," "Wicker Park"), who gives us a lot of light and noise and fight scenes that could be outtakes from the "Bourne" spy series. The picture was shot in Hong Kong, and the backgrounds are interesting, especially if you enjoy watching fish markets blow up.

"Push" is a harmless enough time-waster, but you'll probably forget you saw it before you get home. If you try to figure it out, you'll know you've got way too much time on your hands.

"?Doug Bentin

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