‘Getaway’ needs less Selena Gomez, more craziness

Selena Gomez (out of focus) and Ethan Hawke are trapped in a car in "Getaway." Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
Selena Gomez (out of focus) and Ethan Hawke are trapped in a car in “Getaway.”
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

‘Getaway’
Director: Courtney Solomon
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez
Rating: PG-13
2 (out of 5) Globes

The lean, cheap genre film is largely a lost art form, one that periodically pops up in our blockbuster-obsessed culture. These typically wind up in direct-to-video purgatory, where they await discovery by brave film travelers.

But they happen enough that one can be forgiven for somewhat resisting “Getaway,” a trashy, cheap thriller released by a major studio (Warner Brothers) and starring both a serious thespian who’s of late become a B-movie king (Ethan Hawke) and a teen pop sensation not above dirtying her image (Selena Gomez). It’s mildly diverting, and it clearly hopes you won’t point out if not its inconsistencies, then areas where it could have tried harder.

The premise is silly but rich — in terms of outlandish situations, that is. Hawke is given the pretty terrific name of Brent Magna, a former Nascar star whose wife has been kidnapped. For ransom, Brent must steal a car in Bulgaria — where films are cheap to make — and do whatever a mysterious man, shown only in graphic mouth close-ups, commands. (The credits on the Internet spoil the famous, crazy actor’s identity, but we’ll be nice.) This baddie, seen operating in what’s evidently the quietest nightclub in the world, forces him to plow headlong into public spaces, evade a neverending legion of police cars, drive down stairs fit for people, plus other bits of relatively minor, eventually faintly monotonous daredevil activity.

The film’s main challenge is overcoming Gomez, who plays the car’s real owner, and who enters the picture looking to carjack her stolen ride. An annoyance who should never hold a gun (“Spring Breakers” Harmony Korine knew that), Gomez does become gradually half-tolerable. But the film, like its villain, proves wussier than it should be. At first Brent is ordered to kill her. When he won’t — partly because he’s no murderer, partly because then we’d be stuck with just Ethan Hawke — the film offers no significant punishment. The bad guy just gives him more stuff to do, which is much like the stuff that came before and will come after.

Director Courtney Solomon (of the “Dungeons & Dragons” movie, no less) struggles to keep things lively, visually. Half the film is comprised of digital footage taken from various surveillance cameras, plus cameras nailed to the car as it whips around town. That, too, proves same-y, and soon it’s not uncalled for to demand some actual invention. The same goes for the rest of the movie.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sister of accused Boston Marathon bombers arrested for…

The sister of the accused Boston Marathon bombers was arrested in New York City for threatening a woman over the phone, saying she could "put a bomb on you," police…

Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…