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‘Knight and Day’ implausible

June 30, 2010
By Tony Rutherford

What do Wichita, Austria, Boston and Spain have in common? About as much as Roy and June.

Bumping into June (Cameron Diaz) and her carryon of carbonators, exhaust and collectible auto parts, suave and smooth-talking Roy (Tom Cruise in dark “Risky Business” shades) appears in one those only-at-the-movies introductions.

Cruise and Diaz combine for a screwy action/romantic comedy tour de force that sucks viewers into a vortex of a sister’s wedding colliding with assassins, spies and eccentric teen inventors.

What has visions of Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train” morphs into a light-hearted “Mission: Impossible” saga dumbed down by a series of never ending mystery, comedic and flirtatious shifts.

Early in the film, Diaz casually asks why everyone wants this Burger King toy. Obviously, the miniature knight has hidden contents, just as “Knight and Day” gracefully enwraps sanguine and bland statements followed by nonchalant duck-and-shoot automatic weapons fire.

Crammed with Diaz’s espionage faux pas (traced cellphone; blown trigger cues),  Cruise elicits exaggerated traits and ploys of a charm-ensnared, gender-reversed femme fatale (would that be a noirish ‘him fatale?’).

Sweeping her off her feet and into another round of danger, Cruise has a wily shrewd blend of cocky, cool craziness fortified by Diaz’s jaded adaptability for the sake of a relationship.

Romance is in the air and the kisses between bullets captures spontaneous testosterone, which flows with gushes of unavailable love. Of course, that inescapably enraptures the feminine mystique. What once was a white house and picket fence becomes a condo with a dog.

Avoiding a complicated “Mission Impossible” or “Bourne Identity” subtle caper, “Knight & Day” easily dances on a thin line in the sand, juggling mindless ammunition blasts and a “I’m here for you” care, taking respect for ordinary life moments.

Enabling surprises from beneath a magician’s cape, the ‘you drugged me’ coping mechanisms inventively allow additional disconnected puzzles to seemingly fit nicely into escapes for the spy and his gal pal.

The repeated use of this ‘device’ spurs a trifle amount of viewer frustration, but if you accept the premise of how this tangled couple fell together, you’ll likely greet it as a delightful dispensation.

What has immeasurable sputters is Tom himself. Forget the Brad Pitt role of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” Cruise wins the one-liner, “sorry for the rough ride” derby, yet overacts to the point of pompousness.

Diaz wins the acting derby, not simply for matching fast talking Cruise phrase for phrase, but inserting a practical woman’s equality agenda (or should we call her simply a “Tom-girl”?) from the defense of her boots, pleasure at a family beach BBQ, and turning nonviolent maneuvers on the super spy.

Contact Tony at trutherford@graffitiwv.com

 
 

 

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