D: James Mangold. DP: W: Patrick O’Neill. Starring: Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz/Peter Sarsgaard/Viola Davis/Paul Dano/Marc Blucas/Maggie Grace/Jordi Mollá/Celia Weston/Dale Dye.
Yes, guys, it is finally here. A movie where Tom Cruise gets to play crazy, even a crazy wannabe spy at that too! So what could go wrong? Well, lots, and we haven’t even gotten to Cameron Diaz yet.
Pulling out of The Tourist last year in order to do this film, Cruise steps easily into the role of Roy Miller, expert spy supposedly gone rogue who seems to be a bit of a daredevil. (Cruise was replaced by Johnny Depp whose role is opposite Angelina Jolie, the actor who also took over the main role in Salt, a film originally written for a man and supposedly passed on by Cruise.) Yet, Cruise’s Roy is ever bit of a pastiche of his former Mission Impossible work and the little bit of crazy he throws in is funny at times, but oddly realistic to his current Hollywood persona. The intense and constant close-ups don’t help as they make Cruise’s spy seem more glamour than grit.
Cruise’s foil in the film is found in Diaz’s June who, on her way home to Boston for her sister’s wedding, “accidentally” bumps into Cruise (more than once). Diaz is still all legs, blue eyes, and blond hair, but her June seems a bit of a one-note and horribly underdeveloped before she must be Cruise’s cute tag-along. But it is this airport encounter that spirals the rest of the plot into the spy game, chase thriller, and protect accomplice plot that unfortunately doesn’t seem either original or smart. However, the couple’s pairing will be comedy enough as there is little tension or chemistry between the two of them. A glimmer of attraction is only felt once or twice from Diaz who is flown across the world, drugged multiple times, and put into a bikini without her knowledge.
The rest of the cast is given thankless roles that are far too small and superfluous for their talents. These parts are also lost amidst a ton of action that is fun and flashy, but will satiate most audiences who will go to see Cruise in action. Apparently, the two stars did most of their own stunt work, but to the normal eye that will look rather normal. Yet, hopefully even these audience members will recognize that by the end of the film there is something to be wanted. Nothing is really explained or completed, and Cruise’s action has surely been better.