The 400-Word Review: Getaway

By Sean Collier

September 3, 2013

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Just how dumb is Getaway, the limp new vehicular thriller from An American Haunting director Courtney Solomon? How ’bout this: the sight of Disney pop princess and onetime Bieber galpal Selena Gomez attempting to carjack Ethan Hawke, pistol in hand and jaunty Detroit Tigers cap on display, is not among the ten least believable moments in this film.

So pretty dumb.

Laughably-named former racecar driver Brent Magna (Hawke) arrives home to discover that his damsel is in distress: wife Leanne (Rebecca Budig) has been apprehended by some toughs, and because she’s just a helpless lady in the eyes of sexist screenwriters Gregg Maxwell Parker and Sean Finegan, she needs some saving. All Brent has to work with, though, is a set of cryptic instructions from a sinister and badly-accented voice (Jon Voight) who calls from time to time. Step one: steal a souped-up car from a certain garage and await further instructions.


Most come in the form of orders to commit random mayhem; Brent drives through crowded parks, eludes police cars and destroys everything in sight. (The number of innocent bystanders maimed or slaughtered here is high.) Eventually, a character that the writers only bother to call The Kid (Gomez) jumps in the car; it’s her ride, and she’d like it back. Of course, she’s being played, too, and if you’re still awake at this point in the film, you’re on something.

I’m convinced that Getaway began life as the script for a video game, because everything that happens occurs with unironic game trappings: countdown timers, checkpoints, distinct missions to be completed. Unfortunately, this half-formed premise and regressive story wouldn’t make for a compelling iPhone game, let alone feature film.

By the time Gomez — who exposes her significant limitations as a performer — reveals herself to be a hacker/gearhead/heiress/genius to repeatedly forward the plot, you’re left wondering how a script this blatantly inane made it to production. Alas, it did, and some unfortunate fools will be tricked into watching the results.

The final insult is that the action sequences aren’t even thrilling in a vacuum; the car chases that take up a good 60% of the meager runtime are repetitive, blandly shot and irritatingly presented. During the climactic pursuit, I briefly nodded off.

It takes a special brand of failure to whiff on a car chase, but Getaway achieves this feat — and absolutely nothing else.

Sean Collier is the Associate Editor of Pittsburgh Magazine and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Read more from Sean at



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