Trash TV is basically what you get with Halle Berry’s new film, “Kidnap.” This plot isn’t all that different from “The Call, where the former Bond girl played a 9/11 operator who takes justice into her own hands. “Kidnap” joins the collection of films starring high-profile Hollywood celebrities participating in these cheap, easy, thrill-a-minute flicks that bank on star power and hyper-reality situations. It’s one thing for Jennifer Lopez to star in a movie like this, but it’s a bit embarrassing when you have an Academy Award winner in a role that’s more reaction than acting. “Kidnap” starts quickly and barely allows the audience a breather as Berry’s “Don’t mess with mom” character will stop at nothing to save her abducted son.

What was supposed to be a relaxing afternoon at the local fair turns stressful when single mom Karla Dyson (Berry) takes an important phone call about child custody. Stepping away from her five-year-old son Frankie (Sage Correa) for only seconds, her cell phone dies, and when she turns around, she can’t find her son. Spotting an oversized woman shoving Frankie into a car and speeding out of the parking, Karla follows in hot pursuit with her Chrysler Mini Van. She chases the kidnappers across Louisiana as they toss objects on the highway, trying to shake her. Karla refuses to give up, fears the police won’t be able to assist her, and can’t seem to get anyone’s attention on the road for assistance.

Thrilling, twist a minute, trash TV glorified with big screen treatment.

Kidnap” follows a particular, familiar formula: An extreme situation that requires the everyday mother to become a superhero. Of course, the kidnappers are white trash, overweight swamp dwellers because that’s how every Hollywood film portrays any character or community outside of New Orleans. Berry is the poor, desperate single mother who works swing shifts at a local diner yet drives a top-of-the-line mini-van despite having one child. That bulky maroon vehicle gets second billing for most of the 90-minute film; it’s the only object Berry converses with. She pats the hood once the dependable, sliding-door family unit bites the dust.

This type of film encourages the audience to get involved, and there was no shortage of that during the pre-screening. “Run, girl, run!” “Don’t put the gun down,” were common comments yelled at the screen as if Karla could hear them. “You kidnapped the wrong kid!” Berry shouts in one scene, a line you could see coming from the poster outside the theater. “Kidnap” knows and understands its audience, giving them heart-stopping (albeit predictable) thrills and chills. While most of the freeway stunts exist in the realm of possibility, “Kidnap” presents Louisiana as a state full of clueless citizens who respond with “Huh?” or “What?” every time Karla asks for help. Despite most of the ridiculous circumstances presented here, “Kidnap” can offer some advice: never leave your child alone for one second, always have your cell phone charged with a backup external battery, and always keep your gas tank full.

Final Thought

Thrilling, twist a minute, trash TV glorified with big screen treatment.


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