From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Perfect Getaway - D+

Rated R for graphic violence, language including sexual references and some drug use, 92 minutes

Formulaic "A Perfect Getaway" isn't a great escape

A movie just shouldn't have "perfect" in the title, especially films that aren't good, case in point the new unremarkable thriller "A Perfect Getaway." Otherwise, critics (including this one) will find reason to harshly critique its imperfections, namely an unoriginal, extremely talky and banal thriller like "A Perfect Getaway" that throws a twist upon its audience 2/3 of the way through the film with little to go on up until that point. Handsome actors and lovely locals are wasted amidst lots of nonsense.

Two attractive couples, Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich) and Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and Gina (Kiele Sanchez) meet up in the beautiful mountains of Hawaii on separate backpacking expeditions. Cliff and Cydney are awkward newlyweds; Nick is former military with lots of baggage, and Southern gal Gina is often left to pick up the pieces. The only bad thing is, one of the couples isn't who they say they are, and could be behind some grisly murders that occurred in the area recently.

"A Perfect Getaway" is a stale, dull thriller with few scares but lots of obvious contrivances. Very, very little happens in the way of plot exposition or character development during much of the film, as our main characters wander around the island blathering on and on about one thing or another. As a matter of fact, little happens at all until the film's final 20 minutes, when the big, supposed "twist" is revealed, which really isn't surprising given the blatant set up and stock characters - Zahn and Jovovich the nice ones - while Olypant and Sanchez the imbalanced ones.

Imbalanced could very well describe "A Perfect Getaway," with loads of talk and little action or genuine thrills. Director and writer David Twohy ("The Chronicles of Riddick") is the main culprit here, with lackluster direction and a contrived, over-the-top script that all but tricks the audience into buying into its ridiculous notions. The final few moments are cat-and-mouse fun, but it takes way, way too long to get there, and by then you'll have things figured out.

"A Perfect Getaway" is largely unrevealing, with Zahn again playing a seemingly everyman mellow guy, though the film again reveals that Jovovich (of the "Resident Evil" films) still cannot act, and when Twohy relies on a key monologue from her in the middle of the film, it comes close to falling apart under Jovovich's blank, emotionless stares.

As one character says in the film (one of the characters is a screenwriter), "the story makes the film." In this case, it's the exact opposite and why it's so terrible. The best thing about "A Perfect Getaway" is the lush Hawaiian locals that'll really make you want to take a vacation. Your "Perfect Getaway" will be to getaway from this time-waster of a movie.