Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

When we first lock in on divorced mom Lorraine Burton (Maria Bello), she’s in what I think is an Anger Management class, which is strange because it looks as if Lorraine needs lessons in Anger Escalation considering how weak and mousy she is. Lorraine is having a bad life right now. She’s in Anger Management classes she doesn’t belong in, she has no money, she’s trying to raise her eight year old son Chad (Connor Hill) who doesn’t listen to her much, and her asshole husband is trying to take sole custody of this kid because he ran in front of an Ice Cream truck and almost got hit. About this…From the sound of it, it was the dead of night so why was the Ice Cream truck out cruising neighborhoods in the first place, and ‘almost’ getting hit by an Ice Cream truck, which generally drives all of three miles per hour, probably shouldn’t rate a report to protective services. I’m not saying that Lorraine’s asshole husband shouldn’t get custody, because clearly Lorraine has absolutely no control over this kid, but not for that incredibly minor issue.

Regardless, Lorraine’s crap life is about to get infinitely worse. She stops off one evening at the gas station to buy pizza… I know, right… and buy gas to put in her INCREDIBLY crappy car. She gets in the car and young Chad casually asks if she got enough pizza for Roy. Huh? Yeah, Roy is the runaway bank robber in the backseat whose carjacking Lorraine. Strange, Chad didn’t seem to be mentally challenged, but obviously he is.

Roy (Stephen Dorff), as we mentioned has robbed a bank of about a half mil, and needs to be ferried around until the heat dies down. Now Roy and Lorraine’s beautifully stupid relationship begins. Basically this relationship consists of Roy insulting Lorraine for being lame and stupid for the next forty five or so minutes and Lorraine agreeing with him. And while we hate to side with a murderous bank robber, Roy is kind of spot on in his observations about Lorraine. In their time together Lorraine will have all kinds of ample opportunity to escape, but the Stockholm Syndrome seems to have kicked in, even though Lorraine has just met her captor. Mind you Roy isn’t the brightest bulb in the box either which has us questioning his ability to successfully knock over a lemonade stand, much less a bank.

So these two idiots drive across town, Roy becoming increasingly frustrated with Lorraine being stupid, until he’s had enough. But remember… Roy is no Rhodes Scholar either. So there will come a time in this movie where the hunted becomes the hunter… and then the hunted again… and then the hunter… and somehow it will all work out swell in the end. I mean fabulously. I’m talking in a way that there will be no more trips to the gas station to buy pizza.

We have to admit there are issues with director John Bonito’s ‘Carjacked’ as it trudges along on its journey to being a halfway decent hostage thriller, with most of these issues centering on the weakly designed characters we will be stuck with, in tight spaces, for the next ninety or so minutes. In Act One our characters get to know each other. This part is moving a little on the slow slide, with the repartee being battered back and forth between Roy and Lorraine not being particularly well-written or interesting, despite the fact that both Maria Bello and Stephen Dorff are fine actors. I’m thinking one of the problems with this may have been that Maria Bello is a tough, edgy actress with her best work being in difficult and challenging roles. Shrinking violet just might not be in her wheelhouse. Nine of ten roles Stephen Dorff plays are psychotic sociopaths, so I don’t what to say in his defense.

Act Two features a single mother under duress. True enough this part is more engaging than Act One, but the majority of the entertainment of this section is waiting to see what dumb thing that Lorraine is going to do next. Maybe she’ll hide out in a bathroom and call 411 instead of 911 on her cell phone, yet still have no earthly idea where she is geographically despite the fact she’s been the one driving for the last hour. You might wonder what kind of hostage taker wouldn’t check his hostage for a cell phone, before allowing his hostage to just wander off. Perhaps Lorraine should just take a chance when she’s stopped at the police roadblock. I know, she might put her and her child in danger, but she took all kinds of stupider chances later on so we’re not buying into that. Or when Lorraine gets free of the villain, and gets by a pay phone. THIS would be a great time to call 911. Lorraine doesn’t do this as there is far more stupider stuff she has to do.

Then there’s Act Three. This is a bit of spoiler but by the time Act Three starts, the movie is over for the most part. The kid is safe and Lorraine is safe. But Lorraine, the former shrinking violet, suddenly turns into Ripley from those Alien movies and she’ about to make Roy pay. So while the first two acts were filled with stupid characters in a mediocre thriller, now the movie itself joins in the stupidity with the car chases, shootouts and money grabs. I like car chases and shootouts as much as the next guy but the ones here were kind of silly.

I’ve seen way worse movies than ‘Carjacked’ which is probably more of an indictment on my movie watching choices than any kind of praise on this film, but it is nonetheless true. It’s just with the talent in front of the camera in this one, we expected it to be better than it was.

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