What could have been a dark and zany Coen Brothers style comedy about mistaken identity, kidnap and kinky antics, comes across as more of a mediocre Brit sitcom collision with a “Confessions of…” reboot. Writer/directors Ross Aitken and James Browning’s low brow/budget sex comedy strives to shock with bawdy humour and reckless audacity but suffers from a lack of likeable characters, well-honed story-telling, craft and imagination.
The set-up introduces us to Ben (Daniel Curshen) and Charlie (Genna Foden), a professional couple on the cusp of middle-age, whose relationship survives solely because of their experimental sex lives. While dogging, swinging and doing whatever it takes to keep the lust for each other alive, the couple’s adventures go south after Ben hires someone to kidnap them as part of a role play experience.
The plot doesn’t stretch much beyond the high concept but Kidnap Me is efficiently trimmed to a brisk 80 minutes so doesn’t outstay its welcome. Mistaken identity follows along with a series of calamitous escape attempts and sexual faux pas which could have amounted to a rowdy laugh riot but just seem crass and juvenile due to being fashioned without heart, intelligent irony or consideration of context. Budget limitations contribute to a droning DTV feel but, after a first half wilt, slight thrills arise due to plot twists, hapless goons and surprising character arcs.
Ultimately, Aitken and Browning spend too much time buttressing smut instead of refining the plot and characters, so Kidnap Me never amounts to more than its intriguing premise. Forget the scintillatingly and subversive sex comedy thriller it could have been with a bit more ingenuity, vision and elbow grease, what we’re left with is the cinematic equivalent of a faded, saucy postcard, crammed in a panic between the rotten wood panelling at the back of an old man’s shed.