Verdict: 2.5 / 5
First-time kidnappers bet on the wrong trophy wife.
Con-duo, Ordell (Yasiin Bey) and Louis (John Hawkes), target real-estate developer Frank Dawson (Tim Robbins) after they find out about his secret account and frequent affairs. After kidnapping his wife Margaret “Mickey” (Jennifer Aniston), they demand a ransom total of one million dollars to be paid or he’ll never see her again. Unfortunately, they didn’t do their research well, as it turns out that Frank has filed for divorce and is currently boozing it up with his young mistress, Melanie (Isla Fisher). He refuses to pay the ransom, and the men are dumbstruck by his lack of concern for his wife’s well-being. Meanwhile, a very confused Mickey patiently co-operates and tries to avoid the perverted stare of Nazi-enthusiast Richard (Mark Boone Junior), who eavesdrops through various peepholes he made, while preparing her holding room.
The kidnapping is pretty standard; stalk out the prey, wait till she’s alone, and then pounce while wearing caricature masks. There is a slight mishap when Marshall (Will Forte) shows up. He has convinced himself that his affections for Mickey is mutual and so just invites himself in, helps himself to some music and martini’s. He is unfazed by the fact that the doors are unlocked with no one there. Making his way to her bedroom, Ordell waits by the door, knocks him out and locks the witness in the closet. All three rely on him to phone the police, so Frank would be alarmed of his missing wife, but he isn’t.
They then phone Frank with their demands, but he isn’t playing ball. They quickly grow anxious as they realize that this is getting them nowhere. What follows is a desperate attempt at getting whatever they can, and thoughts turn violent.
But Mickey is treated with kindness, especially by Louis, and evidently they form a bond. His gentle nature is reassuring and pleasantly welcome, even though he is still her captor. Now informed about her husband’s intention of divorcing her, marrying his mistress and the off-shore account, a switch goes off in Mickey that result in a comical (but predictable) twist. All the while no one seems concerned that their son Bo (Charlie Tahan), is conveniently still at his grandparents’ house, not having heard from either parent for over two days. Nice.
Based on the novel The Switch by Elmore Leonard, the film successfully portrays the late 70’s country club socialites, pretending to partake in pleasantries draped in shades of brown, mustard and beige. In truth, this kidnapping is the most exciting thing that has happened to Mickey, who is otherwise stuck in tedious routine.
Hawkes is endearing and his pairing with Bey is natural, while Aniston succeeds in another pensive role and Fisher adds some weight behind the playfulness. The film in its entirety is predictable and misses the necessary comedic beats. A comedy void of laughter.