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Movie Review: A Perfect Getaway

By Matthew Huntley

August 20, 2009

I promise that it will be really nice in Raccoon City.

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If there's a perfect word to describe A Perfect Getaway, it is amateurish. This thriller has everything it takes to be sub-average: clichés, blatant misdirection, laughable dialogue and an absurd ending. I'm willing to bet writer-director David Twohy thought he was being clever by having the characters talk about their situation as if they were in a screenplay—you know, to give the movie an edge of self-awareness. He wasn't.

Twohy attempts to put pieces together that just don't fit. Could they ever? Any narrative elements can go together, I suppose, when you have the right storyteller, and it's not that Twohy is completely lacking in talent, but I can't help but think this was one of his screenplays collecting dust in the corner, and given how little consequence it has, it should have stayed there.

The plot follows a newlywed couple — Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich) — honeymooning in Hawaii. Their fun and romance comes to an end when they learn another couple just like them was recently murdered on the island and the killers are still at large. They have a sneaking suspicion it's the crazy couple (Marley Shelton and Chris Hemsworth) who flagged them down for a ride, but they're also leery of Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and Gina (Kiele Sanchez), who tag along with Cliff and Cydney as they hike to a far-off beach. Things gradually grow creepier and more unsettling when Nick shows off his hunting knife and starts killing goats, not to mention when he reminisces about his days as a soldier and being shot in the head.




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Three couples. Two killers. Each couple suspects the other. Who could it be?

The more important question is, who cares? The premise alone for A Perfect Getaway is hackneyed and lame, but a bigger problem is there are no interesting characters or dialogue, so it doesn't really matter to us who the killers are or who survives. I guessed who the killers were before the movie officially revealed them to us, but even the climax is too silly and poorly orchestrated to be effective.

One of the problems with the ending is the filmmakers don't know how to utilize their locations. At one point, a character looks down a giant hole and then stands up. The movie holds on a medium shot, as if another character is going to come out of nowhere (you know, the old "character is out of frame so therefore they can't be seen" trick). Even if that was the case, it's been done to death, but since it's not, the composition was pointless and distracting. But it didn't matter that much since my investment in the actual events was limited.

Again, it's amateurish. This is a dumb and forgettable movie and everyone involved seemed to mail their services in, as if this was a project in between the better and more important ones. If that's the case, save yourself a trip to A Perfect Getaway and wait for the better and more important movies to come along.


     


 
 

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