Friday, 13 August 2010

Knight And Day

In case you missed the transition, Tom Cruise is now a comedian. Following on from his admittedly hilarious cameo in Tropic Thunder, the slightly doo-lally Scientologist with the winning smile brings you this mostly pointless quip-fest.

Cruise plays Ray Miller who, it turns out, is a secret agent. After deliberately bumping into Cameron Diaz at an airport, the pair find themselves on board the plane exchanging pleasantries and trying to emit chemistry. All of which is quite incidental, because the real reason that Ray has engineered the meeting is because..........well actually I don't know........

Ray has something that lots of bad people want to take from him, but the film never satisfactorily explains why he has to take Diaz's June Havens along for the ride. Maybe it is just because the director thinks that she'll look good in a bikini later in the film. Who knows? June is on her way back home for her sister April's wedding. I have no idea what happened to May, but she's better off out of it if what follows is any yardstick.

The bad people are on the plane. So while June is off powdering her nose in the implausibly small toilet, Ray is left to ruthlessly murder a succession of henchmen, two of whom happen to be piloting the plane. What's an action comedy hero to do but get up front and land the plane himself? Ray does so with the minimum of fuss, finding time to apologise to June for every slight bump along the way. Ray's manners are the film's most prominent running joke. He never forgets to apologise or pay compliments about June's dress. Not even if there are 50 machine-gun wielding lunatics on his tail. Which is almost always the case.

From here on in it is a battle to protect the thing that the bad guys want which means tracking down it's inventor, the brilliantly named Simon Feck (Drink! Girls! Arse-biscuits!) Simon's a young genius, but has all the character of a Katie Price novel. All of which makes him pretty difficult to protect from the hail of bullets at times, but that doesn't stop Cruise wise-cracking his way through the madness all the same.

The stunts in this film are monstrously silly, and it never makes it's mind up about whether it is a rom-com or an action film. There is some acting among the special effects but nothing that will be remembered. If Cruise's movement towards comedy has anything to do with his 47 years it is not evident here. He remains determined to prove that he can do action and humour in the same 100-odd minutes. He can, but it doesn't mean it works all the time.

Knight And Day is fun if you like this sort of thing and are prepared to leave your belief at the door. There are moments of genuine humour and a passable love story. Cruise and Diaz are a believable couple, but the comic banter they spend so much time delivering is effortlessly overshadowed by Ray's parents in one short scene.

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