Review: Knight and Day Definitely Madcap, Sort of Fun

Knight and Day is a hodgepodge of themes, at times displaying madcap hilarity, at other times feeling like an underwritten attempt to cash in. You'll temporarily enjoy Tom Cruise, right up until you're not exactly certain why a scene has turned serious, and then he'll throw you a know-it-all grin to win back your affection again. Cameron Diaz displays that Charlie's Angel derring-do, and Peter Sarsgaard is at least passable as a man on a mission. It's a fun time at the movies. And when it's not that, it's a wishy-washy spectacle. Ah, I think I've hit upon the proper descriptor: It's a tale of two movies!

Storywise, Knight and Day is a slapdash mosh pit of shenanigans set in exotic locales, bathed in innuendos and bullets. The trailers accurately suggest the narrative slant: Cameron Diaz becomes entangled in a situation she can't possibly understand or cope with, Tom Cruise plays the super secret agent man who takes her under his wing. And also potentially gets her killed a few times. A prime example of the storyline is a scene right at the outset -- Cameron Diaz boards a plane that seems to be filled with folks hellbent on killing, only she's completely unaware, as she's not the target. When Cruise explains the situation to her she naturally meets his lecture with incredulity. As an audience, that's where the marrow of the work is, Cameron giving the "come on now" smirk met only by Cruise's deadpan stare.

The locations are many and the action is frantically paced -- one moment we're on a beach, the next we're whisked off to rooftops in the wintery snow. The film feels like True Lies, or Mission Impossible, or perhaps a really odd sequel to Vanilla Sky. The method employed to change locales is cleverly used, it should give you at least a chuckle.

What drags Knight and Day back to Earth is the reluctance to fully commit to the zaniness. The film works when Diaz and Cruise are casually dodging bullets, cracking wise, and generally defying anything resembling reality. The film stutters when it attempts to ground the work in logic, because it feels completely wackadoo with the previously set tone. It feels like the film was worked on by one too many people; it's got one too many sensibilities. This is a case where less (reality) would have been more (entertainment).

Still, the movie has its moments. You'll remember why Tom Cruise was once the biggest actor on the planet, and you'll develop a slight crush on the highly lovable Cameron Diaz. That the middle part of the film is such a drag shouldn't be held too much against it, should it? Besides this review, I mean ...

Grade: C+