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September 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Taylor Lautner, the former teen werewolf of the Twilight movies, makes his starring debut in the John Singleton-directed Abduction. And critics, who are mostly excoriating the movie, are treating Lautner himself with a sizable degree of leniency. Despite the lameness of the plot, Roger Moore suggests in the Orlando Sentinel, “Lautner does not embarrass himself.” Glenn Whipp in the Los Angeles Times suggests that the movie represents effective “brand repositioning” for Lautner. Stephen Holden in the New York Times is not quite so supportive. Although he remarks, “To give Mr. Lautner his due, he is a martial-arts dervish with perfectly sculptured abs,” he goes on to say, “His boyish monotone with its utter lack of inflection suggests that he is really an advanced robot simulating human speech without registering emotion or even comprehension.” But Claudia Puig in USA Today lets Lautner off the hook by remarking, “Actors are only as good as what they’re given to say — and here it’s all cringe-worthy.” That is pretty much the standard reaction to the film by most critics, but Kyle Smith, beneath a headline reading “Needs less kid, more napping,” deals the film the coup de grace. “Actual abduction may be preferable to the movie of the same name,” he writes, “but only if your kidnappers don’t torture you by forcing you to watch it.”