Midnight in the Switchgrass puts together recognizable names from well known franchises into a crime thriller with heady themes. Karl Helter (Bruce Willis) and his partner Rebecca Lombardo (Megan Fox) are FBI agents investigating a string of murders in a small Florida town. What seems like the opportunity for a return to grace, ends up being a predictable disappointment.
The subject may be derivative, but today’s more enlightened world has seen neat twists on old premises. Midnight in the Switchgrass completely dispels any notion that this is going to be a deconstruction of how women have been little more than objects of titillation in serial killer movies. On the contrary, it doubles down on the misogyny and ridicule while removing any hints of eroticism.
Haphazardly thrown into the mix to offer some sort of course correction is Fox. Once the “It Girl” in Hollywood, Fox became less of a media fixture in the middle of the 21st century. This has allowed her to continue her career without all the public scrutiny. Last years, Til Death seemed to signal something of a resurgence for her and a possible return to genre cinema that she has shown an affinity for.
Midnight in the Switchgrass halts all of the forward momentum. Fox does her best with what she is given, which unfortunately is not saying much. Lombardo may drink beer and curse while kicking ass, but she ultimately becomes just another damsel in distress. Willis does not help matters as he seems to phone in yet another performance. This is especially noticeable once he leaves Midnight in the Switchgrass. It seems like less of a narrative decision and one made to accommodate the actor. It also makes an already clumsy film even more difficult to enjoy.
Midnight in the Switchgrass comes to on demand, digital, and theaters July 23
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