June 29, 2010 3 Comments
To its credit, Knight and Day does not pretend to be something it is not. It never makes the mistake of taking itself too seriously nor does it try to outsmart its audience. Rather, James Mangold’s action-comedy-romance-spy flick aims to simply entertain and please its audience without worrying all that much about thorough characterization, realistic dialogue or sensical plot lines. In what has so far been a severely disappointing summer blockbuster season filled with uninspired, derivative titles that I have no desire in wasting my time with, I chose to see one that isn’t a sequel or in 3-D (the flavor of the month) or based on a silly TV show. And you know what? It kinda did the trick.
Sure, the movie is clearly a vehicle designed for two of Hollywood’s bigger stars in Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. And their chemistry on-screen here is quite strong (although I thought they were terrific opposite one another in the oft-maligned Vanilla Sky as well). As for its supporting characters, the film doesn’t bother developing them at all which is a shame when you have the talents of Peter Sarsgaard, Viola Davis and Paul Dano at your disposal. Unfortunately, they are used mainly as background to our two stars here, as the script gives them all very little to offer its viewers.
Cameron Diaz plays simple gal (who knows her cars) June Havens, whose life is turned completely upside down when she meets the mysterious Roy Miller (Cruise) on an airplane to Boston on her way to her sister’s wedding. They strike up some friendly, flirtatious banter and she goes off to the restroom to try and figure out the best protocol in luring in this handsome fish. What she doesn’t know is that Miller is a secret spy and she is not supposed to be on this particular flight. From here on out, Miller spends the entire film protecting the innocent girl’s life across the globe while June spends most of the film trying to figure out if Miller is truly her ally/protector or if he’s some crazed, paranoid agent-gone rogue as others would have her believe. Cruise’s special agent is always smiling and is ever so kind and complimentary towards June as he goes about protecting a specialized battery that never loses power. Created by young genius Simon Feck (Dano), the battery is in high demand and everyone is killing to get their greedy hands on it.
There are some very funny scenes here between Cruise and Diaz and the action scenes are filmed especially well, including the many chase scenes involved (one featuring bulls in Spain that is quite impressive to watch). Cruise is very tongue-in-cheek throughout, and for this film, it certainly works. He has done comedy and he has done a lot of action, but has never really had the opportunity to do both of them at once and he gets to do that here in the same way that Cary Grant used to do. He is charming throughout and delivers all of the absurdity with such sincerity that it is hard not to laugh. Diaz is also up to the task; very sweet and funny. After taking a truth serum, she is clearly upset and tells Miller that he doesn’t look so happy to see her again — this, while being shot at from all angles. Of course Miller walks through a hail of misfired bullets to show her just how happy he is to see her again. And if you can go with that, then you will certainly enjoy this movie. My problem here is that, as good as Diaz is, I felt she was all wrong for the part – too able to take on the task. I think the film would have been better served if they had cast someone not as strong as her – an actress who is much softer and who would be more believable as being the complete opposite of Cruise’s super spy. I mean, she’s a Charlie’s Angel, for Christ’s sake. Since they didn’t go that route, they should have then done a much better job at making her seem more out of her league — more helpless and feeble.
Overall though, the film does what it sets out to do and that is simply to entertain a summer audience. It doesn’t bore and never lets up, going from one action sequence into another. Many times, the writers never even have to worry about showing how the duo manages to get out of a life-threatening situation as Miller keeps drugging June and the screen simply goes to black and we see June awaken in an entirely new setting. I’d say if you are looking to take your brain out for a little while, kick back with some buttery popcorn and just have fun, then I would surely recommend Knight and Day. Cruise looks to be having a lot of fun here and it is nice to see him back in the action genre after a few years — and with so much slim pickings out in multiplexes right now, this may be your best bet.
To view the trailer for Knight and Day, please click here.