Is Knight and Day the beginning of Tom Cruise’s comeback?
Pretend you are the BIGGEST star in the world, and that five years ago, you thought that you could pretty much run the machine on your own. So you fire your PR team and have your sister deal with the public front end of your billion dollar career. She tells you to pull out all the stops and let the world see you for who you REALLY are, passionate, intense, full of ideas. So you jump on Oprah’s couch, tell Matt Lauer he doesn’t know shit, and so forth.
Suddenly Sumner Redstone fires you, you are an on-line punchline, and no one wants to work with you. WHAT DO YOU DO?
First, fire your sister.
Second, do a movie that plays to your strengths. And that means do a lighter action comedy with a romantic touch, across from the biggest female star who can do cute and funny at the same time. It doesn’t have to be innovative ground breaking cinema and definitely is not going to be your Oscar year, you just need to re-stabilize the ship. And that movie is called Knight & Day.
(Also, go on the MTV awards in a character that the 18-24 demo might know from a cameo you did when you needed to vent.)
The story in a nutshell: He is a spy and she restores old muscle cars.
Exploding, fighting, car chasing, some kissing, etc. Oh, and everyone is chasing an ever-lasting battery (I shit you not) and even Spanish warlords (do they exist?) see the potential in this thing. Look, just deal with it.
They cut down the rom-com angle and amped up the action because it looks like the studios are nervous about how to market the NEW Tom Cruise. So nervous, in fact, that they don’t even bother putting his face on the poster! Plus the opening shot of him is from the BACK of his head, clearly everyone involved is making sure that we get re-introduced to Mr. Cruise slowly.
Unfortunately, the agents didn’t get the memo. There was an overdose on Tom Cruise Close Ups, (known as TCCUs in the industry) meaning the agents forced a boilerplate contract from 90’s that listed how many GIANT close-ups Mr Cruise gets because that once was how you sold a movie. (Somebody must realized it is 2010 because Tom is doing cooking segments with Jimmy Kimmel) But we could have done with less camera time up his nose and more on the scenery.
Anyway, he does his breezy/charm thing to gets some laughs but the high body count makes for his lighter-than-air approach to his spy gig seem like he’s a sociopath. That could play for or against the new re-worked image he is going after.
Cameron Diaz does her cute thing which was fun for a scene or two. And her bikini scene shows us all what months of Pilates and zone diet system can do for a person. Oddly, for each new location they go to, she is drugged, literally, and wakes up somewhere more gorgeously exotic than the last place. This movie has made roofies look fun.
She, of course, at the end turns the tables on him with Love: Scientology Style (because in movies, when you are in love, you render each other unconscious). To each his own, I suppose.
Considering I am still in SHOCK from watching Killers three weeks ago, this movie was a welcome relief. However, since all the mildly amusing gags were fronted loaded in the trailer, there was not too much holding it up after that, but then I didn’t really need much. Just patch over the plot holes and make all the things more or less pay off in the end.
Technically there is absolutely nothing wrong with this movie; You got a solid mid-line drive that gets you on base. Which is exactly what Mr. Cruise needed.