Movie: Getaway; Director: Courtney Solomon; Rating: PG-13; My finding: 1 and a half out of 5 stars.
It will be difficult to do justice to just how excruciatingly awful "Getaway" is.
It would seem like a film involving no computer-generated imagery for any of its 130 or so crashes, but instead using real cars and real drivers - and taking place in eastern Europe (Sofia, Bulgaria) at night during winter - would be amazing.
Add in the fact that the film is forced to keep the thrills coming at great speed because racecar driver-turned-getaway driver-turned family man Brent Magra (Ethan Hawke in his second terrible movie this year, after "The Purge") has had his wife taken from him. Now Magra must pull off every racing stunt imaginable in a fight against time portrayed against the beautiful cityscape to win back her freedom. It seems like it would be flawless popcorn enjoyment.
Then, consider that Jon Voigt plays the evil commander with a sly German accent (although otherwise largely reprising his role as commander in 1996's "Mission: Impossible") and this movie should have been elevated to something legendary.
Then, just imagine that carmaker Shelby was so on board with this feature that they created at least seven new Super Snake Mustangs for it because the extremely rare cars kept getting destroyed in the breakneck action. Cars are vaulting over each other or T-boning one another or generally flipping around in sheets of metal and flame at nearly all times.
It should have been the most fun you'll have at the movies this summer.
Except something in this film is so amiss that it seems like some kind of cruel parody all the time. It had me alternating between bursts of laughter and outright discomfort in the dark theater.
If there was ever a worse performance than Selena Gomez in the dramatic role as the young woman who tries to take back her car - the Shelby, yeah - at gunpoint but becomes just a hostage in this lame game, then I cant think of it. I waited hours before I finished this review just to see if anything could come to mind. It didn't.
First, her casting is inexplicable. This film is aimed at speed junkies and action fans, and I doubt that her casting brought even one tween, Disney-loving girl into the movies to watch Ethan Hawke battle against Jon Voigt in a sports car.
Secondly, I think they screened her scenes after she had shot them, realized how unconvincing she was as a hacker or a brainy person in general, and then coached Hawke and Voigt on how to lie and tell her she's such a "clever girl" all the time in hopes of convincing us - the duped, poorer audience who came to see this - that she was.
Thirdly, the timing and context is atrocious. First, Miley Cyrus caused a hubbub at last week's
VMAs. Now, her former Disney colleague and former Justin Bieber girlfriend is appearing in a "serious" role to show she's an adult in her own little way.
Being an adult - if we take a page from the Gomez book - consists of having a camera cut to you a billion different times in the action sequences so that you can yell the same curse word every time and try out that face you once saw labeled as "fearful" in an old psych-textbook.
And then, most grueling of all, is that there are quiet scenes where Hawke and Gomez are forced to exchange dramatic dialogue. And Gomez, unfortunately, has a dramatic delivery with all the emotional resonance of a soggy teddy bear. I don't know what that means but that's what it seemed like when I was watching the screen in horror.
Besides the logical failings of Gomez, her inclusion seemed to be inserted somewhere along the movie's development and never fully integrated. It seems like the writers and director didn't close the gap and left loopholes left and right.
Why, for instance, is some young, indignant young woman able to hack into a private video feed to create a video loop with a couple clicks on her iPad when the entire rest of Voigt's evil plan seems so well laid and perfected?
There's too much more to say.
Let's make sure that the sequel clearly being set up in the last scene never comes to fruition, and that this little lemon dies an early death at the box office.
(Flint McColgan is a staff writer for The Minot Daily News. His movie reviews appear in Thursday's Arts &?Entertainment section.)