Parents; sometimes they do stupid things, like leave their kids unattended, marry the wrong man, or sometimes star in movies requiring them to do both. Or sometimes if we’re really lucky, they will star in a rehashed movie we’ve seen thousands of times before.
Cellular… I mean… The Call… I mean every Lifetime movie ever… sorry. Kidnap, stars Halle Berry as Karla Dyson, a soon-to-be-divorced mom who works as a waitress who is often spooked by the slightest change of wind. Our journey begins when Karla decides to take her child, Frankie (played by Sage Correa), to the carnival for an afternoon in the sun and abandonment. She leaves him alone to take a phone call from her divorce lawyer only to find out he’s been abducted by the hicks from Deliverance. It’s from this moment the flinching, meek and not that bright Karla, transforms into Mad Max. She is determined to track down her son’s meth fueled kidnappers, but don’t worry, she’s still not too bright.
Kidnap is both intense and unintentionally laugh-out-loud funny. Berry acts out each screen with desperation, surprise, and wonderment, as if she’s reading the script for the first time. When she’s not delivering eight-hours worth of Gone with the Wind “As God is my witness” monologues. She’s busy staring pensively out a window longing for yesteryear. However, despite her acting choices, Berry is very sincere as she fumbles and bumbles through each scene as a mother on the verge of a nervous breakdown while trying to chase down kidnappers.
From there, the little Lifetime movie that could quickly transforms into Berry’s audition tape for the next Fast and Furious installment: Fast Nine, It’s Berry Time. It’s as ridiculous as any Furious movie. What starts out as a simple and realistic car chase soon turns into a desperate attempt to make the audience care, which is hard to do with such a lazily written script by Knate Lee.
From the time Karla see’s her son dragged into a dusty Mustang, the script uses plot devices to keep Berry from actually showing off an ounce of her talent (it’s buried somewhere deep down in the abyss). What starts off as a clever idea by having Karla drop her phone in the parking lot while chasing after her son soon turns into a reason why there should be an eighty-hour loud car chase filled with crashes, tire throwing, explosions, a world where cops don’t exist, and empty highways that drives us to the next paint-by-number plot (all with Frankie STILL in the backseat).
Director’s Luis Prieto’s masterpiece of incoherence proportions (seriously, there are no cops in sight) where cause and effect doesn’t exist and the reason behind the kidnapping is disjointed and tiresome (forget all that divorced back story, it’s not important). If that doesn’t grid your gears, the abhorrent level of convenience written into the script surely will. Every obstacle Karla faces ends with a friendly person equipped with whatever Karla needs at that moment. Her car breaks down? Seconds later appears a man in a truck to lead a helping hand. She needs to call the cops about her son? Oh look, there’s a man fishing and he has a phone. Those pesky meth-heads that stole Karla’s son switched cars? Don’t worry, there’s his reflection in the window. Every single suspenseful moment that can create tension in this piss-poor movie is destroyed constantly, including the final plot twist (can you call something a plot twist if you already see it coming?)
If you can’t tell by now, let me spell it out for you: Kidnap is a mess of a film that should have died on the highway it forces the audience to watch. However, if you’re the kind of person who finds Madea movies “inspirational” then this might be the “Oooh, gurl” movie for you. But if somewhere, you happen to think highly of yourself and you want to keep it that way; avoid this movie at all costs.