*1/2 (out of four stars)
Actors often explain a chosen role by saying, “I just loved the script.” There is absolutely no way that Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez would say that (truthfully) about “Getaway.”
This 85-minute car chase believes in logic like the VMAs believe in music. The kidnapper, played in obscured close-up by the eyes and lips of Jon Voight, hatches a plan so elaborate it’s as if he wanted it to fail. Former stock car racer Brent Magna (Hawke) steals a car and waits for instructions after this unknown caller (Voight) says he has Brent’s wife, Leanne (Rebecca Budig). The commands Brent receives sound like the worst, bossiest GPS ever, ordering him to wildly turn into a park and “smash into everything you can.” After Brent’s chaotic dash onto a skating rink and down stairs and into large trucks, the voice reassures, “Your wife lives. For now.” Though the overall lack of urgency implies he may later coldly insist, “Make a U-turn and pick me up a sandwich. No onions.”
The ad for “Getaway” absurdly calls it “‘Taken’ meets ‘Drive,’” which is only true in the sense that “Getaway” contains a kidnapping and a car. Otherwise this shoddily made thriller is like “Saw” baddie Jigsaw was the villain of “Speed” (with echoes of “Die Hard with a Vengeance”), presenting one ridiculous situation after another that use the most difficult means to achieve a nonsensical end.
Early in the film, a young woman known only as The Kid (Gomez) tries to carjack Brent. Since he can’t leave the car and then can’t let the Kid leave either, this leads to numerous scenes of this hysterically random pair of actors bickering and taking far too long to determine the obvious motive behind the mayhem. The conversations really exist to break up the endless chase sequence, in which little is ever clear aside from many objects crashing into many other objects.
Bloodless and amusingly moronic when it’s not totally boring, “Getaway” takes place in Bulgaria, and two of the film’s many unintentional laughs come from the lazy effort to explain why these Americans are in Bulgaria in the first place. Another: A scene that implies Brent’s leather jacket is bulletproof.
There’s no harm in junk like this, only time and money down the tubes. I’d rather sit through “Getaway” three more times than listen to Gomez’s “Come and Get It” once more. The “Spring Breakers” star can act, but the “singing” needs to stop.
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