June 25, 2018  (Web Review)

The Escape of Prisoner 614

Lionsgate, 97 min., PG-13, DVD: $19.99, Blu-ray: $21.99, June 26

Reviewer rating: 2.0/4

Set in upstate New York in the 1960s, this flimsy comedic adventure begins when two bumbling deputies, Thurman Hayford (Jake McDorman) and Jim Doyle (Martin Starr), are summarily fired by cantankerous, corrupt Sheriff Wilson (Ron Perlman), because they’ve made no arrests in the crime-free tiny town of Shandaken. Almost as soon as they clean out their desks and hand in their badges, a prison warden (Ralph Cashen) calls to say an escaped prisoner may be nearby. Hoping to earn their jobs back, the pair set off into the Slide Mountain Wilderness in hot pursuit, unfortunately using all of their ammunition in fruitless gun practice while trying—in vain—to hit a beer can target (followed by an idiotic encounter with three hunters). Eventually they catch up with the hapless prisoner (George Sample III), who is crouching by his campfire, only to discover that he is probably innocent, a victim of racial prejudice and systemic injustice. Making his first feature film, writer-director Zach Golden is best known for concocting an apparently lucrative website called whatthefuckshouldimakefordinner.com, which served up 48 million recipes and spawned a cookbook. Unfortunately, his weakly-scripted satire never properly utilizes the talented cast, particularly Perlman and Sondra James, who plays the sardonic waitress in the local diner. Optional. (S. Granger)