Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Knight and Day (2010)

In its heart, Knight and Day is a throw back to the rom-com adventures of old – a globe-trotting escapade akin to Charade and Romancing the Stone. It boasts a classic leading man opposite a rom-com sweetheart. It’s fueled by spies and chases, romance and double-crosses. It’s mysterious and it’s exciting, sentimental and ambitious. Indeed, Knight and Day dreams big… only to wake up to a reality of lost potential and missed opportunity.

Directed by the reliable James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma), Knight stars Tom Cruise as a rogue secret agent who gets tangled up with Cameron Diaz’s quirky American sweetheart. He’s charming and a little bit of a loose cannon. She’s… something he finds irresistible. Shortly after witnessing a botched assassination attempt aboard an in-flight commercial airliner, Diaz is swept up by Cruise’s waive, entangled in conspiracies of government and love.

The action is packed and the comedy quips flow, and Knight accelerates with a studied Hollywood classicality. Cruise is a livewire, a man with gravitational pull for calamity and excitement. But for some reason, no matter how many explosions and car chases and cutesy moments are thrown at us, the movie just feels… flat.

The script from Patrick O’Neil provides sturdy groundwork, but something is lost in the translation to screen. Mangold has always been better at drama (Girl, Interrupted) than comedy (Kate & Leopold), and there’s an obvious lack of timing in this film. The action is solid summer blockbuster stuff, but the comedy never quite connects.

Cruise’s performance is typical movie star stuff, even if his star shines a little less than it used to. But Diaz is acceptable at best. Her character is more endearing-spirit Audrey Hepburn waiting-for-adventure Kathleen Turner, and Diaz just can’t pull it off. The chemistry between the two feels amicable, but sparks never do fly.

All in all, chemistry is the missing component in Knight and Day, on multiple levels. Mangold’s film is just the latest in a long-running tradition of productions that – for whatever reason – just don’t click into place as a fun, audience-friendly flick.

Still, there are worse ways to enjoy theater air conditioning in these balmy summer months. Knight and Day isn’t so much a bad movie as a breezy Saturday DVD, something you throw on because it looks nice and seems fun, but never completely satisfies.

Updated Summer Blockbuster Standings:

1.) Toy Story 3
2.) The A-Team
3.) Iron Man 2
4.) Get Him to the Greek
5.) Knight and Day
6.) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
7.) The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
8.) Shrek 4
9.) The Last Airbender


Amy said...

Dub Mc, you have completely read my mind. There was something good here, but they weren't able to get into that other dimension. Yes.

DubMC said...

Glad we're on the same page, Amy. I'm sure it was at least better than KILLERS


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