The life of Jerry Shaw, a college dropout with no prospects, has just gotten worse. His twin brother, Ethan, a lieutenant in the Air Force and general overachiever, has been killed. After mourning at the funeral and expressing frustration regarding the vague details of his brother's death, he heads to the bank to withdraw some cash. When he finds that he suddenly has nearly a million dollars in the bank, he races home, where he finds a huge supply of weapons, bomb-making chemicals, and other illegal possessions. He receives a phone call from a deadpan female voice: he will be arrested if he doesn't jump out the window and escape. Refusing to believe, he stays and is promptly detained by the FBI. While the agent is out of the room, Jerry receives another phone call from the same female voice, with simple instructions: get down. He ducks, and a giant metal beam rips the top of the building off, enabling Jerry to escape. He's told to hop into a car, and he does so, joining Rachel, a single mom who is furious. She accuses Jerry of being part of a scheme that involves threatening her son, but he convinces her he has nothing to do with it. Meanwhile, the police and the FBI chase after them, but the female voice on the phone somehow gives them perfect instructions every time, helping them avoid capture in the nick of time at every turn. They learn that they are being given instructions by ARIIA, a super-computer run by the Department of Defense that gathers intelligence. ARIIA disagrees with the wisdom of the President's policies, so she determined the only way to get the country to do what was right was to eliminate every member in the chain of presidential successors until the first one who agreed to go along with the computer's advice. ARIIA's plan involves using Rachel's son, a horn player performing at a concert for the president, as the inadvertent trigger for a huge bomb. It's up to Jerry and Rachel to race to DC, find a way into the concert, and thwart ARIIA's plan before the President is killed.
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Best part of story, including ending:
It's an incredibly silly movie, but it does have some terrific special effects and a generally fast pace, which makes the proceedings go by fleetly.
Best scene in story:
Jerry's initial escape from the FBI, when the roof of the building is torn off, and he must scale down the side, is the most exciting part of the film.
Opinion about the main character:
Jerry is the classic reluctant hero in the wrong place at the wrong time. LaBeouf is a skilled actor at playing this type of role, and he earns our sympathy for the most part.