There’s a scene early in Courtney Solomon’s thriller Getaway that calls to mind the Steve Martin classic The Jerk; this is a bad thing. It happens after Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) is already caught up in the drama laid out by a stranger whose kidnapped his wife, forcing him to complete several vehicular tasks before letting her go. The Voice (never given a name) insists that Brent drive through a busy park and eventually orders him to smash into a truck carrying water bottles. One couldn’t help but think of Steve Martin freaking out that a sniper is out to get the gas cans around him, belligerent to the assassin’s desire to take down Martin himself. “Stay away from the cans!,” he screams over and over again.
Such is Getaway, a silly little film that’s only memorable for its blundering. Solomon (of the terrible Dungeons & Dragons movie fame) jumps right into his movie with Hawke’s character wasting no time getting into the action, speeding down busy city roads. The car he’s driving is rigged with roughly a dozen cameras, so The Voice can always keep tabs on him and so Solomon can cut – every single second – to a different angle. This is tiring, as the chaos consists of quick shots to a tire, then a headlight, then Hawke, then a different wheel, then a police car and finally said police car smacking into something and flipping upside down. Truly, the chunk of the budget for car-flipping in this picture has to be around fifty-percent.
Eventually a rich, spoiled teenage girl (Selena Gomez) tries to steal Magna’s car – sort of – and she whines a bunch about, well, everything. She proceeds to yell about each turn and crunch the car takes; it grates. Eventually she turns out to be a computer whiz that has apparently seen Speed and more wackiness ensues.
The structure of this plot could make a fine outing, but Solomon’s frantic editing and the dullness of the twists and characters make for a tired tale. The obnoxious pace of how the movie unravels its destruction is made worse by a lack of tension. One never gets a sense of danger, with Magna able to weave his car between cops with ridiculous ease. Hiding from his pursuers is as easy as turning off the headlights in an alley. It’s all exhausting and never entertaining.
Getaway opens wide all across Seattle tomorrow.