Whenever I'm out of Seattle and away from the near-endless supply of filmic entertainment available from the Seattle Public Library and Scarecrow Video, I make a point of reactivating my usually latent Netflix account. Maintaining a Netflix account that I hardly use is sort of silly, I admit, but I find it comforting to know that a massive DVD catalog is readily available should I choose to relocate for a month or two.
Last June I traveled to Georgia to visit my sister, who is good enough to put a roof over the head of a sizable HD television as well as it's close pal, the Blu-ray player. Naturally, one of my first orders of business was to reactivate the Netflix account and set its default format to Blu-ray. Knowing my time in GA was limited, the obvious next step was to move as many seemingly decent films available on Blu-ray to the top of my queue. One of those 'seemingly decent films' turned out to be A Perfect Getaway. (I don't know exactly what possessed me to think this movie looked decent, but I think I gave it a chance based on the fact that I like Steve Zahn. Anyway, I can't come up with another, better reason.)
Fast-forward to January 2011. I had suspended my account but forgotten when it was set to automatically reactivate (Netflix only allows you to suspend your account for three months at a time, at the end of which it will reactivate automatically should you fail to log on and prolong the suspension. Some real Columbia Record Club-style bullshit.) I come to find out at the end of the holidays--via an unexpected charge on my bank account, of course--hey, I'm a Netflix subscriber again! I decide to make the best of it and start rejuggling my queue in order to get some new movies I wasn't able to see in theatres, but not before the two DVDs at the top are shipped my way, one of which is A Perfect Getaway. I'm less than psyched about this turn of events since it doesn't look nearly as 'decent' as it once did, but the movie has already been delivered and I'll be goddamned if I don't watch it.
Which brings me--mercifully, I know--to my... well, review would be a huge overstatement, so let's just call them thoughts:
...To start simply, this movie is bad. You can sort of tell it's going to be bad based on the premise and the DVD menu, so this isn't really news.
...Badness aside, the movie rebounds remarkably at about the halfway point. Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich (and by Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich I mean the characters portrayed by these actors, characters whose names I've already forgotten) are on their honeymoon in Hawaii. They've just arrived in Kauai from Oahu and are troubled to learn that some fellow honeymooners were just murdered in Honolulu. It comes to light that the suspected killers are a young couple, so all the other young couples our protagonists come across from then on are immediately suspect. From there, things get pretty wacky and over-the-top, but in a sort of fun way. "Are these punky newlyweds capable of murder?!" "Or are this mega-commando and his former meat-cutter of a girlfriend the more likely maniacs?" "Holy shit, we're gonna die! And we only just started this wonderful life together!"
...This movie actually gets pretty exciting/amusing once it puts the cinema references aside (Steve Zahn's character is a newly-minted screenwriter so we get to hear all about how film plots work... exciting) and starts getting into actual plot twists. It's all absurdly ridiculous, of course, but for the purposes of absurd ridiculousness, you could do a lot worse than A Perfect Getaway.
...One last thing: the aforementioned mega-commando is played to great effect by Timothy Olyphant. Seriously... shades of old-school, Aliens-era Bill Paxton. Good stuff.
Coming soon... More thoughts(!): Blue Valentine! Alamar! Etc! Yay.