In between Farscape episodes, and while waiting for my Netflix to come in the mail, Mek and I ended up watching A Perfect Getaway through On Demand.
Yeah, I’ve seen better movies.
I almost didn’t write a review of this one because I wasn’t sure I had enough to tell. The movie wasn’t terrible—it beat out Turistas, anyway—but it tried far too hard to be clever. The basic story goes like so: Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich) are newlyweds, having their honeymoon hiking around in Hawaii. They find out that a pair of psychopaths are also making their way around Hawaii, and they’ve already killed off one happy couple who just tied the knot. This is particularly unfortunate news for Cliff and Cydney, considering that they’ve managed to piss off one creepy looking couple (Chris Hemsworth and Marley Shelton) and are hiking around with another (Timothy Olyphant and Kiele Sanchez).
And what is the lesson to be learned from this, kids?
Spend your honeymoon drinking too much champagne and shacking up in a too-expensive hotel room, just like everyone else.
1.) Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich make for a slightly mismatched couple. Not that Steve Zahn is a fugly guy or anything, but, well, look at Milla.
I’m just saying. Cliff didn’t do too bad for himself.
2.) Although, the amount of times Cydney giggles like an idiot in the first three minutes alone makes me wonder if maybe Cliff didn’t get the raw end of the deal, after all.
3.) One of the problems with this movie is how clever it tries to be. It’s wink wink, nudge nudge humor starts to grate early on, and it’s got all the subtlety of a jackhammer to the face. For example, Cliff is a screenwriter, see, so he and Nick (Olyphant) get into a few discussions about what kind of twists would make for a good second act and what the definition of a red herring (or snapper) is and what makes for a good ending, and so on and so forth. Naturally, I was shocked, shocked I say, to see how these conversations weren’t merely conversations but foreshadows, huge, gigantic foreshadows painted in neon and flashing every five seconds to warn the audience that this dialogue might be important later on and that nothing was quite what it seemed. Meta can be fun, but if it’s not balanced properly, the reaction is not, Wow, that’s amazing, but rather Oy vey!
There was much oy vey in this film.
4.) This is less of a horror movie as it is a thriller or a suspense, and what does that almost always mean? Twists! So many twists! (One character actually says something like, “Lots of twists and turns up ahead.” Supposedly, he’s talking about the trail they’re on, but really? Shut up, Writers.) To be fair, the big twist in this film isn’t entirely mismanaged or ridiculous . . . there are some nice moments that support it, even a moment or two that I didn’t quite catch . . . but since the movie is screaming, “THERE’S A TWIST!” at the top of its lungs the whole time . . . yeah, the end’s not exactly what I would call unpredictable.
5.) A Perfect Getaway’s saving grace? This man right here.
I kind of love Timothy Olyphant (if you haven’t had time to check out Justified yet on FX, take the time. It’s brilliant) and while none of the other leads are particularly bad in this film, Olyphant clearly carries the movie. He has a seemingly effortless charisma to him, and every increasingly ridiculous story he tells just makes him that much more likable. And, well, who couldn’t love Nick? He’s like an American Jedi, dude.
Also, if you need a goat killing right quick? Nick is totally your man.
6.) Finally, did I mention that I won’t be hiking on my honeymoon? I mean, when I eventually have one: there will be absolutely no hiking. There will be no strenuous exercise of any kind. For fuck’s sake, it’s your vacation. There’s only one type of physical exertion you’re supposed to have on your honeymoon, and it doesn’t include any bullshit about edging alongside a teeny ass path on a huge cliffside. Honestly.
Now that I’m out of notes, I will move on to the Spoiler Section. For ye who do not want to be spoiled, go no further.
Crazy twist time! Marley Shelton and Chris Hemsworth are just red herrings! They aren’t really the bad guys. But wait! Timothy Olyphant and Kiele Sanchez are also red herrings. But who could that possibly, possibly leave? The real bad guys are . . . wait for it . . . wait for iiiiiiiiit . . . Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich!
No, I wasn’t surprised either.
The twist isn’t horribly done. One of the hints that I didn’t catch was when Steve Zahn’s character (formerly Clint, now Rocky . . . Rocky, heh) is looking at a photograph of Shelton and Hemsworth and saying that it looks worthy of being framed. You think he’s just being snarky and superior, and the moment plays honestly in that interpretation, but when you flashback to it, you realize Rocky is actually saying that Shelton and Hemsworth look like good people to frame for the murder. I thought that was a clever, little moment, and I wished there were more like it. Instead, as I said earlier, everything in this film was just screaming, “Twist! Twist! Twist, twist, twist!” So it wasn’t exactly shocking when your supposed heroes turned out to be the bad guys. This was a new twist back when Agatha Christie did it . . . almost a hundred years ago. And she did it at least three times.
Look, there’s some potential in the idea here–I like the idea of watching a film, sure of who the protagonists are for half of the movie, and then having those heroes abruptly switched out on me, giving me new heroes and playing with the audience’s expectations . . . but that’s not really what happened in this movie. And don’t even get me started with the whole “Milla’s not really a bad guy but a third victim” angle. There’s a way to do that, and this movie didn’t do it. To be fair, it tried . . . the backstory isn’t completely worthless, and there’s a good moment towards the beginning of the film that supports Milla’s “good side” . . . sorta . . .but, ultimately, it still comes up a little short, because when Milla doublecrosses Steve Zahn at the end of the film, it feels a little cheap, like the heroes couldn’t save themselves entirely, so there had to be some reason for her to do it.
A Perfect Getaway was mostly watchable . . . although I did start to get antsy for some carnage after about forty minutes . . . but the movie’s likability was almost completely due to Timothy Olyphant being so awesome. He kind of saves this film, and even then, it’s still only a very tentative B-. There are some interesting concepts in A Perfect Getaway, but the people behind the film were trying way too hard to make it shocking and, as a result, fumbled the rest of the film instead.
Moral: Don’t tell people about your life. In fact, just don’t talk to people period. Hermits live forever, yo!