J. & C.'s Movie Reviews

Our Notes on Movies Made Public

The Next Three Days

Posted by J on May 15, 2011

The Next Three Days is highly entertaining, yet entirely ridiculous.  It qualifies as a how-could-a movie.  A how-could-a movie is a movie during which you keep asking yourself the question “How could?”  As in, how could Harrison Ford possibly survive that jump off the dam in The FugitiveThe Next Three Days might set the record for “how coulds?”

Consider. The main character, Russell Crowe, is a pudgy community college English teacher who has an apprehension about guns.  So of course he is the perfect character to plan and execute a jail break! Of course.  The entire premise of the movie, that Russell Crowe’s character can and will break his wife out of jail, is a how could question.

It turns out that Crowe’s wife is in prison for murder. The evidence points to her guilt, and when she loses her final appeal, she is stuck in the slammer for life. Crowe is quite depressed about this, mostly because she’s attractive. So he mopes about his daily life, playing the father to his six-year-old boy.

But then the idea hits, “why couldn’t I break my wife out of jail?”  Well, aside from the facts that no one has ever escaped this jail and that Crowe has no experience as a criminal mastermind, he certainly could break her out of jail! Why not? So Crowe hires Liam Neeson, who has escaped jail seven times, to give him advice for five minutes about how to break someone out of jail.  It turns out that you really just need willpower and a little luck.

So Crowe spends most of the movie planning the jailbreak.  He uses Youtube a lot. Youtube shows him how to make a bump key, which he tries in an elevator at the jail. That doesn’t work, so he tries to buy fake passports and social security numbers in the ghetto. After he gets beat up and robbed, he goes back to the ghetto with a gun to rob a meth dealer.  He needs money badly, in order to escape the country and bribe corrupt officials in Venezuela, his final destination after he successfully pulls off his impossible plan.  But he has only a few hundred dollars left.  This is quite strange, because even though he has sold his house and all of his furniture, he’s still hanging on to his brand new Toyota Prius, which is his getaway vehicle.

Crowe then robs the meth dealer. He sets fire to the dealer’s house, but the house does not blow up.  This allows Pittsburgh detectives to find a piece of the Prius, which broke off when Crowe ran into a bunch of trashcans while leaving the crimescene.  These detectives turn out to be the ultimate Super Sleuths. They reason that there are 7000 Priuses in the nearby metro area, and thus 7000 suspects.  But they start their search with convicted murderers. Only one murderer owns a Prius: Crowe’s wife.  She couldn’t have committed a crime, though, because she’s in jail.  Yet these Super Sleuths reason that the killer of the meth dealer must be the husband or child of the murderer who owns the Prius.  Of course!  It takes them the better part of a morning to make this brilliant deduction and track down Crowe, who on that very day is executing his elaborate jailbreak.  Chase scene alert!

It’s funny, apparently Super Sleuths don’t make good cops.  While the police detectives find Crowe within hours, they can’t stop him when he’s on a hospital elevator.  Our pudgy English professor hero has, in his infinite wisdom, gotten his diabetic jailbird wife transferred to a hospital.  He then thwarts the Super Sleuths on the hospital elevator. He descends to the parking garage, throws his clothes off of the elevator, and then goes back up to the hospital lobby.  The Sleuths think that he is in the parking garage.  Oh that clever Russell Crowe!

Once Crowe has gotten his wife out of the hospital covertly, he follows Neeson’s advice.  He’s got 35 minutes to get out of Pittsburgh.  But there’s no time to get his son.  It’s either escape now or risk capture later.  Crowe’s wife cannot bear the thought of escaping without their son, so she tries to commit suicide by jumping out of the car.  But Crowe grabs her and hangs onto her as their rental car does a 720 on the interstate at 65 mph.  This is the second time in the movie that Crowe’s wife has attempted suicide, but apparently she’s too attractive to not live with in Venezuela for the next four decades.

Does Crowe get out of the country? As the movie’s hero, should we really be rooting for him to bust a murderer out of jail? These questions I will leave you to ponder, but if you seen only a few Hollywood movies, you should know what their answers are.

These detailed plot points are provided for you to prove that this movie is bursting with unintentional comedy.  Almost none of it makes sense.  It is more a fantasy than The Lord of the Rings.  Admittedly, though, it so entertaining that I didn’t feel like falling asleep during it, the first movie I’ve watched in a while where shuteye was not an option.  If you are looking to spend a mindless evening, then this is your movie.


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