Getaway, the action-thriller starring Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, Jon Voigt, and a fancy car, isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. But Selena Gomez’s performance in it is absolutely everything that I expected it to be, which is not a great thing. The movie is about an ex-professional car racer (Hawke), whose wife has been kidnapped by a mystery man located at a mystery place for reasons which are, mhmm, mysterious. In order to get his wife back, he must complete a series of risky tasks, the first of which is to steal a sports car that belongs to a bank heiress (Gomez). True, its storyline lacks originality and some of the characters have questionable motivations, but for the most part, it is entertaining and interesting throughout. Aaaand that’s the last sentence that I’ll say that won’t require a spoiler alert.
Everything that you would want from a movie about fast cars and bank heists, you get in this one: you’ve got your extensive car chases, intense gear shift close ups, protagonists driving through explosions just in time to avoid meeting a fiery death, and, also, Selena’s character on Disney‘s Wizards of Waverly Place. I know, that caused your brain to do one of those record scratching sounds, but I thought that it would be most effective if I presented it to you in the same way that the movie presents it. From the very first line that Selena speaks, my internal monologue was like, “you guys…you guys, I can’t do this. I can’t take her seriously. This is so badly cast, this must be a mistake.” It did that the whole time, which started to become annoying, but I couldn’t get upset with my poor little internal monologue because it was only speaking the truth. For this year’s Movie That Was Cast In The Worst Way award, I nominate this movie, and only this movie. It deserves it; it worked harder than any other movie to win that award.
We’ve already pointed out how physically odd we thought that she’d be for her role in this movie, which is slightly less true, now that we know that she is playing a teenager who just happens to be rebellious and is also not a carjacker. The gun pointing scene that we were all ooooh about was her character trying to get back her own car that had been stolen from her. So, okay, she’s just a normal kid who has her own gun. Whatevs. Anyway, the area that I think the casting directors overlooked probably entirely was the fact that Selena’s acting is the actual reason that she isn’t believable in the role. And no amount of (annoyingly superfluous) cursing will change, or even mask, that.
I hate to be a Debbie Downer here, but how are we so sure that Selena is even a great actress? No, really, that’s a legitimate question with only very minute traces of snark that would take a lab analysis to detect. Her performances have yet to be anything more than decent and usually go something like this: a teenaged girl, who has enough sarcastic responses to get a laugh or two, but has the emotional range of a raisin. Maybe even a craisin. And, in Getaway, her shifty dramatic acting is made worse when it is placed right next to Ethan Hawke’s abilities and is expected to hold its own. That’s just plain old unfair. Would you ask a baby lamb to hang out with the alpha male in a wolf pack? You would not, because that baby lamb wouldn’t last five minutes. I’m sure that you can guess who the baby lamb in this analogy is; I have a lot of faith that you can.
And, look, I completely get why Selena would have accepted this role; she’s currently trying pretty hard to mature her image (despite being closely associated with two of Hollywood’s most immature people). And I do feel happy for her that she is expanding her star power by appearing in large budget films with respected actors. What I can’t wrap my mind around is why she was even offered the part. Like, okay, she is a box office draw because people generally do like her and she usually does well in comedic roles. But this role is the exact opposite of that. So, are ratings so important that Getaway’s creators were willing to risk an already just-okay movie with a weak lead actress? Well, the real answer is, “yes, don’t ask stupid questions,” but the answer that I really want it to be is “no, no, absolutely not.”
If we lived in a perfect world, Selena’s name wouldn’t have even been on the list of considered actresses for this movie. But we don’t and it was, so now I’m scouring the internet for one of those Men In Black mind eraser things to forget all about it.
You can catch Getaway in U.S. theaters on August 30, 2013.