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A Perfect Getaway (2009) opens today in a theater near you

Synopsis:  "When newlyweds Cliff and Cydney Anderson (Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich) arrive on the lush island of Kauai for an adventurous Hawaiian honeymoon, their timing coincides with the headline-making news that a pair of serial killers are on the loose, brutally hacking up the tourists. Cliff, a nearsighted screenwriter with nerdy spectacles and few outdoor skills, is no Indiana Jones, but he's promised his wife an 11-mile hike up the Kalalau Trail to a spectacular beach with a hidden waterfall, so against all odds and the creepy feeling they're being stalked, it's a-hiking they go. The farther they get from the overcrowded part of the map and the deeper they plunge into the jungle, the stranger they feel. On the trail, they bond with another couple--Nick (Timothy Olyphant), a rugged hunter with ripped abs and a metal plate in his head from combat duty in Iraq, and his perky girlfriend, Gina (Kiele Sanchez), who has a thick Southern drawl and special skills with a machete. Cliff and Cydney feel safer with their new friends in tow. Nick is a warrior type who can survive the wilderness building shelter and catching his own food with a bow and arrow, and Gina is a whiz at gutting animals for food. Then a third couple encroaches--a pair of hostile, tattooed and potentially dangerous hippies who give Cliff the willies. Just when things get hairy, they are arrested and taken away by police helicopters. Case closed. Or is it? Suddenly the movie shifts gears, tables turn and roles reverse, plunging everyone into a fatal series of screaming terrors replete with red herrings, character reversals, screenplay twists and a violent, blood-drenched finale guaranteed to sizzle your nerves. The whole thing leads to the unraveling of the identity of the psychopathic maniacs." NY Observer

A Perfect Getaway movie poster

MPAA Rating: R for graphic violence, language including sexual references and some drug use

Runtime: 1 hr 37 mins

Genre: Action/Adventure, Thriller

Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Milla Jovovich, Kiele Sanchez, Chris Hemsworth, Marley Shelton, Steve Zahn

Director: David Twohy
Screenwriter: David Twohy
Producer: Ryan Kavanaugh, Mark Canton, Tucker Tooley, Robbie Brener

Music: Boris Elkis

Studio: Universal Pictures


"Who's been murdering newlyweds, turning a beachy paradise into a tropical hell shared by three pretty couples? You'll probably guess, but that doesn't take away from the slicked-up genre charms of this A Perfect Getaway. Steve Zahn makes full use of the many varieties of hyper in his acting arsenal, while Timothy Olyphant has a heckuva good time telegraphing macho mania. The picture treats itself to all sorts of artsy camera tricks." Entertainment Weekly

"A Perfect Getaway is essentially one big red herring, flopping around on an idyllic Hawaiian beach, desperately trying to call attention to itself. Everyone's a suspect and no one's a suspect, and writer-director David Twohy's raison d'etre with this thriller -- aside from jolting us, of course -- is to mess with our brains and keep us guessing until he reveals his Big Twist. It's not as earth-shattering as "Bruce Willis is actually dead" but it's a pretty good one, and it'll make you go back and think twice about what the characters did and said to make sure it all makes sense. It does, but it's also a gimmick, and a self-conscious one at that. But you could just ignore all that, though, and give into the many B-movie conventions "A Perfect Getaway" has to offer: skeevy hitchhikers and strangers in the jungle, skinny dipping and girl-on-girl fistfights. It's ridiculous but fun. And so it's up to us to figure out who the killers might be, with Twohy yanking us in one direction or another. But while "A Perfect Getaway" has its moments of suspense, it's never truly frightening, even once the big reveal takes place and the bodies start stacking up. After toying with us, Twohy's reliance on standard shootings and stabbings is really rather boring." Associated Press

"Half of the movie seems fresh and hair-raising. The rest is just disappointing and predictable. At least it provides the underrated Steve Zahn, a likable and inventive actor with natural talent, with a starring role. He makes every minute count. Nothing in the script by David Twohy, who also directed, is very suspenseful. The women are comely enough, but the stars are the two fellows who know how to seize attention and hold it, with raw fury. Timothy Olyphant's Nick is one of those sculptured, all-American, too-perfect-to-be-real hunks who could win a college football trophy or manage your stocks on Wall Street merely by a simple change of wardrobe--but with a dangerous edge. Cliff is the one who claims to write films, but Nick is the one who knows all the plots and drops all the names. His expressions alone fill A Perfect Getaway with surprises that are not in the script. And Steve Zahn's Cliff keeps his balls in the air and out of sight until you don't know what to think. He keeps you guessing. The film's failure to supply logic in its characters when they start switching lanes is a big weakness, but I especially liked the great picture-postcard cinematography of Hawaii that contrasts savagery with sunshine and keeps you sighing while it hides the darker side of paradise." New York Observer

"The movie is about two couples and a suspicious third couple. The two main couples are Cliff and Cydney, honeymooners in Hawaii, and Nick and Gina, hikers. They meet on a difficult wilderness trail on the beautiful island of Kauai. The trail is spotted with signs warning of narrow paths, steep drops, sudden rains and falling rocks. I love warnings about falling rocks. How do you avoid them? The Hawaii Park Service is famous for its helpful signs. My favorite is: Caution: Lava flow.
 The third couple (Marley Shelton are Chris Hemsworth) are hitchhikers; she's friendly, he sends out bad vibes to both of the other men.
 News comes of the brutal murder of a honeymooning couple near Honolulu, which is on Oahu. But Kauai should be safe, right? Maybe not. It's a rule of a thriller that if you warn the audience about a brutal killing, the killer(s) must turn up. 
I enjoyed the acting. Steve Zahn is at last being liberated from the doofus characters he specialized in, and allowed into the IQ mainstream. Milla Jovovich sure does a mighty fine rural Georgia accent for a girl from the Ukraine. Timothy Olyphant is convincing as a man who is impossible to kill, as is Kiele Sanchez as a woman who likes that aspect of his character.
 The plot will require some discussion after the film is over. Is it misleading? Yes. Does it cheat? I think not. It only seems to cheat. That's part of the effect. All's fair in love and war, and the plots of thrillers." Roger Ebert

"A big-reveal thriller with surprises that really do surprise -- and are worth waiting for through an audaciously long buildup. Homicidal maniacs, pic offers a basic "In the Blue"-type lure, marrying suspense to spectacular scenery both natural and gym-toned. What develops, however, is gratifyingly twisty, and doesn't lose its humor even when the going gets very tough. Late-summer sleeper status is assured, with likely stronger ancillary biz. It takes "Getaway" a full hour before it springs its biggest -- though far from last -- plot twist (which no doubt will be spoiled for many by text-messaging friends and unsubtly hinting reviewers). But that hour is far from time spent waiting for something to happen, as Twohy's screenplay gifts its principals with some fresh, sparky dialogue. When things finally do go to hell in the proverbial handbasket, the humor becomes more visceral than verbal, though one female character does get a memorably offhand last line. Twohy's one directorial misstep is a late bit of split-screen gimmickry that values style over content. But those minor quibbles aside, "A Perfect Getaway" is most satisfying (admittedly, "perfect" would be a stretch) pop entertainment that's clever enough to require no apologies for being sexy, gory, and far-fetched when thought about afterward. Clearly enjoying their character idiosyncracies, the thesps are sharp, with slowly rising star Olyphant and comparative unknown Sanchez likely to get career boosts. Production is first-rate down the line." Variety

"A pair of honeymooners (Jovovich and Zahn) are backpacking through the wild, remote trails of Hawaii when they learn there's a psychopathic killer-couple on the loose. So what else is new? A bloody good amount, actually. Writer-Director David Twohy (The Chronicles of Riddick) takes the cliched murder-among-us-genre and gives it a good beating and a Sixth-Sense-ian twist. The gore is graphic at times--but original. (Ever see a gal gut and skin a mountain goat? Get ready). And the violence gets a nice contrast against the lush island backdrop of pristine waterfalls and majestic canyons. Plainly having the most fun are Olyphant (Live Free or Die Hard), as a gregarious special-ops warrior, and Sanchez (she's the goat-gutter) as his devoted G.I. Jane-like girlfriend." People Magazine

Movie poster source: Cinema Blend

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