Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Knight and Day

Tom Cruise is crazy. Crazy I tell you! And he's soooo dangerous! Or is he? That's the basic theme of Knight and Day which enlists Cruise to play the burned-out spy gone mad who happens upon the unsuspecting June (Cameron Diaz) on her way to her sister's (Maggie Grace) wedding. One thing leads to another (don't you hate it when a plane full of trained killers tries to take you out in mid-air?) and suddenly June is seeing much more of Roy (Cruise) than she bargained for.

In film, as in life, charm can both overcome and hide a number of flaws. And Cruise and Diaz make for a charming on-screen couple. Just not quite charming enough to hide a level of ridiculousness that even The A-Team dared not go. At no time should you attempt to think through the chain of events you are presented with which rely on the kind of dumb luck, chance, opportunity and fate you only find in movies of this genre.

The script by Patrick O'Neill has a few more twists and red herrings than it really knows what to do with, and while director James Mangold gives us plenty of action, and some funny quiet moments between the our stars, the movie never becomes more than a curiosity. We know what's going to happen to Roy and June but we're never really given a reason to care.

The film also earns demerits for wasting the talents of Grace, Peter Sarsgaard, Viola Davis, and Paul Dano in thankless, and mostly forgettable, roles. It's really a two-man show from beginning to end. When the script stays with this concept it works well enough, but every time it tries to broaden its scope by bringing in less-than fleshed-out characters it struggles. The only one who really comes of well besides our leads is Marc Blucas in his trademarked dorky role we've come to expect from him.

That's not to say Knight and Day isn't fun. There are several action scenes that work well visually. They might not make a lick of sense, but they're fun. And fun is one thing Knight and Day has in abundance.

From the plane encounter to racing a motorcycle through the running of the bulls the film packs as much action as it can muster. There is also a running gag involving Roy drugging June for her own good that is used quite well on multiple occasions. Not only are the groggy glimpses we see funny, but the film also hints at more craziness going on just behind her vision.

At times the movie struggles to keep the comedy/drama/romance/action aspects of the story all working, but when Cruise is running around having a grand time and Diaz is trying not to smile slyly through through the craziness you can almost forgive it its mistakes.

I can't quite go so far as to recommend you spending upwards of $10 to see this in the theater. If you can see at a cheap matinee, or, better yet, if in a couple of years you're home with nothing to do on a lazy Saturday afternoon and come across this on the tube, you might give it a look.

1 comment:

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Unfortunately Cruise carries so much baggage into every film he does that I can no long suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy these films. It's always just Tom Cruise, the actor, in a film with other actors. It's distracting and annoying.

He needs to stop making movies because he is not advancing cinema one bit and aside from giving other actors and technicians work, it's a waste.

Produce things, hide behind your silly costume to be that guy in Tropic Thunder (which sadly is the best ACTING you have done in years) but GO AWAY Tom Cruise. You are tedious and I am bored with your balloon juice. You owes us all at least that much.