A Perfect Getaway
By James Rocchi,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Paradise-set thriller is stylish, slick, and very violent.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Although the movie's overall message -- that you should always be careful (not "even on vacation" but "especially on vacation") -- could be seen as positive, it's couched in gore and sadistic violence.
Positive Role Models
The movie is about a relentless killer, but it does also portray stalwart fortitude and true love between an affectionate, commited couple (albeit not in the way you'd expect).
Violence & Scariness
Some grisly thriller violence, including graphic stabbings and shootings, plus fistfights, bloody wounds, and extreme moments like the mutilation of murder victims (shown on-screen), where teeth are removed and fingertips cut off to obscure a victim's identity. A character is shot point-blank but survives; viewers see the wound after the fact. An animal is hunted, eviscerated, skinned, and cooked. A victim is stabbed in the leg and pulls the knife out. A man, struck with a knife, has his hand split badly between his fingers (the wound is shown in detail).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Nude male and female buttocks shown during a skinny dipping scene. Shielded female toplessness. Discussions of sex, including the offer of "a B.J."
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Fairly strong language throughout, including "f--k," "motherf--ker," "s--t," "hell," "ass," "Jesus," "Christ," "crap," "craptastic," "oh my God," "goddamn," and more.
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Products & Purchases
Brands visible or mentioned by name include Trojan, Hummer, and Marvel Comics.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Chracters drink hard liquor and smoke marijuana. A psychotic killer is clearly fueled by crystal meth use.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this tense "trouble in paradise" thriller has lots of bloody violence, from fistfights and beatings to shootings, stabbings, and even mutilation of a murder victim (shown on screen). There's also some drinking and drug use, a good bit of strong language (including "f--k"), and scenes with naked male and female buttocks (plus some implied toplessness). Parents also need to know that this review is for the theatrical rated version of the film.
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A Perfect Getaway
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What's the Story?
Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich) are enjoying their honeymoon on Kauai, getting ready to hike a gorgeous 11-mile trail. Their only concern? News that couple has been found dead in Honolulu, seemingly murdered by a pair of male-female killers who may have come from Oahu to Kauai ... just like Cliff and Cydney did. As the happy honeymooners run into seemingly friendly Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and Gina (Kiele Sanchez) and the more ominous Kale (Chris Hemsworth) and Cleo (Marley Shelton), it becomes clear that any friendly face out in the beautiful middle of nowhere could be the mask of a killer.
Is It Any Good?
Directed by David Twohy (the man behind cult success Pitch Black), A PERFECT GETAWAY is stylish, slick, and utterly hollow. As a whole, the film doesn't hold up to more than a moment of scrutiny -- but, at the same time, as it's unfolding, you'll probably be too distracted by the gore and tension to care. The film's twist may or may not be a cheat (you'd probably have to go back for a second viewing to determine whether that's the case, and that seems like a fairly cheerless prospect). But while it's playing -- well-shot, well-cut, well-acted -- A Perfect Getaway is a fleeting pleasure for mature audiences who like being scared.
Part of that is the beauty of the Hawaiian setting (although parts of the film were shot in Puerto Rico) -- but another big part is Twohy's clean, simple direction and the caliber of the performers he landed for a fairly modest-seeming thriller. Zahn and Jovovich make their happy newlyweds more interesting than you'd think, and Olyphant and Sanchez keep you on your toes when you have to ask whether they are or aren't the killers. A Perfect Getaway is, ironically, far from perfect -- but it's a nice enough little vacation for your mind.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. Does it have more or less impact than what you've seen in other movies? Why? Does violence have to be bloody to be disturbing?
What do you think of movies that make a big deal out of having a "twist" ending? What separates a great twist from a cheap gimmick?
What dangers are involved in travel? How can travellers protect themselves?
- In theaters: August 7, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: December 29, 2009
- Cast: Milla Jovovich, Steve Zahn, Timothy Olyphant
- Director: David Twohy
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: graphic violence, language including sexual references and some drug use
- Last updated: April 5, 2023
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