Phil Caruso

Well, dang. It has come to my attention that I have never been in love. In The Next Three Days, mild-mannered community-college professor and closeted MADMAN Russell Crowe (what—you expect me to look up the character's name?) is super in love with his wife, Elizabeth Banks (serious roles! Look at her go!), so when she gets tossed in the pokey for a murder conviction, he decides to go completely berserk. FOR LOVE. He wants his wife back. He has GOT to have his wife back, even though she maybe probably bludgeoned someone with a fire extinguisher and then came home for snugglin' like it ain't no thing. That's love, I guess.

Over an eggnog latte with Liam Neeson—noted jail-escaper-from-er, because sure, every town has one—Crowe receives a step-by-step guide to breaking out of any jail in the world: (1) Figure out how to escape from the jail. (2) Leave town, because there will be people chasing you. All the pieces are coming together! It's time for action.

Crowe spends the rest of the movie systematically ruining his own life and ignoring his baby son. His attempts to sneak in and out of the prison are so comically inept they approach doofy slapstick. There's an interesting concept in there—how WOULD a deeply average schmuck fare when plunged into such an absurd action-movie scenario, and how fantastically would he fail? But if the how-far-will-an-everyman-go-for-love shtick is your thing, stay home and watch Breaking Bad (obv). The Next Three Days is so goddamn dull that I spent half the time wishing Russell Crowe would bust in wearing a rumpled cardigan and carrying some falsified medical records and a skeleton key he got from a deaf gangster on a sinister motorcycle (VROOOOOOM! And oh yeah, that's a character that happens, for real), and just JAILBREAK ME THE FUCK OUT OF THE THEATER.

But no. Alas. Crowe does not love me enough. No one does. recommended