By Steve Greene | Criticwire August 29, 2013 at 3:28PM
Barbed Wire is the place where Criticwire celebrates the art of the pan. Here's where you'll find the roughest, toughest, funniest reviews, with easy access links to both article and author so you can follow more of their work.
When skimming through negative reviews, you often see a clear pattern starting to form. As critics give the requisite plot overview, the central characters' backgrounds and physical features are played as punchlines.
Take "Getaway," the latest film from Courtney Solomon, co-starring Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez and Jon Voight('s voice). Hawke's character is forced to steal a Mustang in order to appease his wife's kidnapper, but he also happens to be a former NASCAR driver. Gomez plays a proficient iPad-wielding hacker who isn't given any distinctive nomenclature beyond just "The Kid." (For some reason, critics also seemed fixated on Gomez's cheeks.)
But regardless of whether or not these details serve to enhance these characters, there is almost universal acknowledgement that the frenetic filmmaking that surrounds them is what separates "Getaway" from other car chase fare, for better but mostly worse. The "Fast and Furious" and "Taken" connections are inevitable, but the film's hyperactive editing technique apparently doesn't do it any favors.
On the acting side, in the grand "Getaway" Review Word Cloud, two of the most unavoidable entries would be "grab" and "paycheck." Even though the film's highlight is an unbroken take near the film's climax that somehow managed to not kill everyone involved, there doesn't seem to be much else positive that critics have latched on to.
Overall, the consensus seems to be that the film is indeed "hopelessly hopelessssssss," Mark Cherry style.
Here are ten great lines from ten brutal reviews of "Getaway":
"The experience of sitting through the movie is akin to strapping on a helmet and shin guards, and then being trapped in a metal popcorn popper, where one's brain is battered and bruised while an annoying young woman is constantly yapping next to you and that blasted faux Eastern-Europe voice constantly orders you to fling yourself into the vall of the popcorn popper."
"'Getaway' seems built for non-English speaking territories in which dialogue is as disposable as Bulgarian police cars. If only those audiences were as dumb as the action itself."
"Hawke looks uninterested to the point of almost being frustrated with the lack of material...You can tell how restless he is by the fact that he wears a hat for a lot of the beginning of the movie. Nothing says a movie star has given up like wearing a hat."
"What’s so remarkable about Gomez’s performance is that she is supposed to be annoying within the film...but her actual lack of talent prevents you from engaging on that level – you end up just being annoyed at her."
"Remember that 'Simpsons' episode in which Homer, having decided that he’s going to start consuming all of his meals in bar form, pulverizes eight pounds of spaghetti into a short cylinder of pure starch and gulps it down in one bite? Homer thinks for a moment, takes stock of how his body is reacting to his ridiculously dense pasta snack, and calmly dials the operator on his phone: 'Hospital, please.' That’s 'Getaway.'"
"You see, I have seen the terrifying potential conclusion of post-GoPro action cinema, and it is hideous and unpleasant and dull."
"This is a film that goes to the trouble of staging a certifiably insane amount of car crashes, wrecks, stunts and tricks and then buries them under a hyperactive visual style that ensures audiences can't see a damn thing. It's destruction porn run amok -- not so much a movie as a 90-minute headache."
"Gomez seems to have trouble selling simple lines of dialogue like 'I have an idea.' When she actually starts squeaking out Wikipedia-researched leet speak I got vivid mental flashes of a sixth grader reading Shakespeare out loud for the very first time."
"Even if you’re willing to go along with 'Getaway' as a brainless entertainment, the picture keeps throwing up obstacles that distract you. The Shelby Mustang isn’t just the fastest car in all of Bulgaria: It also has the ability to heal itself, like Wolverine."
"Cast in a rare tough-guy role, Hawke plays it with reasonable conviction, though it’s impossible to say if his weariness is that of a pro racer who bottomed out or a serious actor trapped in the ninth circle of movie hell."