This action comedy about a rogue FBI agent paired with an ordinary woman is supposed to mark the reestablishment of Tom Cruise as a desirable star. The cinematography and mise-en-scène are valued accomplices of that goal, tracking all of Cruise’s actions slowly and bathing him in whichever light is available to make him look the most attractive. It is a good thing that those stylistic elements are showing that much love, for the screenplay robs Cruise of a real showcase. It is unfunny and confusing (Cruise’s agent alternates between hero and villain too many times), and Cameron Diaz’s character receives so much more screen time than Cruise that she becomes the story’s focus. Though the adoring camera would have you thinking otherwise, Knight and Day gives Cruise little material for rebuilding his star status.

It does not help that neither Cruise nor Diaz are particularly good in this movie. Cruise seems to be trying to make his role an everyman type of secret agent. That direction fits with his character's back story, but it ruins the already tenuous believability of his combat scenes. It is hard to take this agent seriously as a viable ally or threat when he acts so distractingly boyish and goofy in his downtime. At least he is more amusing than Diaz, who should have taken an earthier approach to her character. This girl is said to know how to repair a car and how to pick out usable parts out of scrap. Diaz does not look nearly casual enough for a hobby like that, let alone to make us conceive that she will become a willing assistant in international intrigue. Her weakness is not only with her appearance, for her half-hearted line delivery drags down the already lame humor (her truth serum scene is especially awkward). The film is forgettable by itself, but these two actors are insufficient to steer this supposed star vehicle.
First published in The Coastland Times


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