David Twohy’s A Perfect Getaway floated in and out of area theaters last fall, leaving a slight impression as a clever thriller that spelled out just how clever it thought it was. Despite its imperfections, I enjoyed the twists, turns and Twohy’s dialogue, especially in one showcase scene for Milla Jovovich. And with Timothy Olyphant’s recent, excellent turn as the lead in Breck Eisner’s The Crazies, I was in the mood for more Olyphant. It sounded like a perfect rental.
Olyphant lends a helping hand to honeymooning couple Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich on a treacherous portion of a mountain trail in Kauai, Hawaii. Olyphant is charming and a little dangerous, and Jovovich is all too happy to follow along when he splits off the trail and leads them to his casually naked girlfriend Kiele Sanchez. Her soft Georgia twang and Southern manners compliments Olyphant’s brusque manner and facility with weapons and explosives.
Zahn is a newly-hatched screenwriter and Olyphant gives evidence that he served on a special ops team in the military. They’re made for each other, and all would be peachy-keen, if not for the report of a couple on their honeymoon in Oahu who were brutally murdered. The chief suspects are … (dum, dum, dum!) … another couple!
It’s all more than a bit obvious, so much so that Twohy has fun by having Zahn and Olyphant banter about the conventions of Hollywood thrillers, red herrings (or is it lobsters?) and third act twists.
The arch, post-post-modern dialogue is matched by a pumping musical score and an ever-increasing pace. There’s nothing to really latch onto except the characters. Zahn is completely berserk in a range of guises and Olyphant plays his character, described too plainly as “really hard to kill,” with a healthy grin.
Knowing where the twists are coming makes the experience akin to riding the same rollercoaster multiple times. You anticipate the bends and know when you duck your head and you anticipate the reactions of new victims taking the ride for the first.
Unless rollercoasters make you sick.