This week’s “good enough, I guess, if you’re not too picky” home-invasion thriller is Breaking In,”which offers the innovative twist of the bad guys getting inside and holding the kids captive while the mom is locked outside and has to “break in,” as it were. What will those geniuses in Hollywood come up with next?!
A wealthy white-collar criminal has passed away, necessitating a visit by his estranged daughter, Shaun (Gabrielle Union), to his high-tech, super-secured house to get it ready to go on the market. For fun, she brings along her young teenage children, Jasmine (Ajiona Alexus) and Glover (Seth Carr); her husband, who exists (a rarity for a mom-and-kids thriller), stays home because the plot doesn’t need him.
But wouldn’t you know it, a quartet of bad guys have scheduled this very weekend for their burglary of the house, where they believe there’s a hidden safe full of cash. Shaun gets trapped outdoors with one of the dudes (Mark Furze) while the other three — Eddie (Billy Burke) the leader, Duncan (Richard Cabral) the psycho, and Sam (Levi Meaden) the tweaker with a heart of gold — lock themselves in the impenetrable fortress of a house with Jasmine and Glover.
Whatever you think will happen next is probably about right. The screenplay, by formula-friendly Ryan Engle (Rampage, The Commuter), hews closely to the routine, and director James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) keeps things safely PG-13 (watch for the F-words that have been dubbed over with “frickin'” or “full-on,” as in, “He’s a full-on psycho”). The formula allows for a few brief thrills and for Union to have her don’t-get-between-a-mama-bear-and-her-cubs moments, basically meeting the minimum acceptable standards for this type of movie. But don’t go out of your way to see it; there’ll probably be another one just like it in a week or two.