Taylor Lautner's 'Abduction': What the Critics Are Saying
THR's Todd McCarthy calls the action thriller "far-fetched" and "convoluted," while others describe the dialogue as unintentionally hilarious and say the movie exploits the young actor.
Taylor Lautner hits theaters Friday in Abduction, his first role as a solo leading man.
The Twilight star plays a teenager who finds out he was kidnapped as a child after his picture shows up on a missing-persons website. Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, Sigourney Weaver, Jason Isaacs and Maria Bello also star in the Lionsgate action thriller.
On Thursday, reviews of the movie began hitting the Web. So what do the critics have to say about the film?
"John Singleton's action thriller has a decent sense of propulsion but, after a faintly intriguing start, the convoluted plot mechanics overwhelm everything else, making you feel you're watching a detailed blueprint for a movie, and an increasingly far-fetched one in the bargain," McCarthy writes. "This Lionsgate release offers enough chases, gunplay and adolescent eye candy to attract the intended audience, indicating mid-range box office results."
The Associated Press' Jake Coyle -- who notes that Lautner goes shirtless, showing his "popular six-pack," only four minutes into the movie -- echoes the sentiment that the plot is "far-fetched."
"As an action star, Lautner handles himself reasonably well," Coyle writes. "He has a bit too much of a boy-band singer look to him, but he's likable and the major deficiency of Abduction isn't his. It's the script. Screenplay writer Shawn Christensen tries to fashion a Bourne Identity-like thriller (there are some parallels, too, to the recent and significantly better Hanna), but the plot is increasingly absurd and the dialogue often comically poor."
Rene Rodriguez of the Salt Lake Tribune was similarly unimpressed, writing that the movie "becomes so awful that the uncontrollable laughter bursts forth" only 15 minutes in. Rodriguez also opines that everyone involved with the film "is in it strictly for the money" and that Christensen "should never allowed near even a word processor or any sort of writing utensil again."
“Abduction is a crass and lowbrow attempt to cash in on a young actor’s heat -- an exploitation picture where the person being taken advantage of is too young to notice," Rodriguez writes. "Even his father, Dan, is listed as one of the producers. You come away from Abduction thinking the actor needs to clean house and surround himself with people who have his best interests at heart, instead of opportunists who want to exploit what will turn out to be his 15 minutes of fame if he makes many more movies like this one."
Rodriguez isn't the only one who found the movie unintentionally funny. Stephen Holden of the New York Times writes that audience members at the screening he attended also let loose "hoots of derisive laughter" at some of the dialogue. Holden also criticizes Lautner's acting, comparing him to an "advanced robot simulating human speech without registering emotion or even comprehension."
"Abduction is a sloppy, exploitative act of star worship created (if that’s the right word for cynical hackwork) around [Lautner]. ... The camera swoons around him as if he were a priceless sculpture, often moving in for extreme close-ups," Holden writes. "The movie stops in its tracks long enough to ogle an extended smooch whose slurping seems scientifically calculated to take things to the brink of an R rating."