'Knight and Day' traps Cruise, Diaz and the film's audience
"Knight and Day" is not much more than a computer-generated assortment of random action-movie scenes shuffled together. It offers little more than an opportunity for Tom Cruise to perform stunts, wear sunglasses and grin.
Seattle Times movie critic
'Knight and Day,' with Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Viola Davis, Jordi Molla, Paul Dano. Directed by James Mangold, from a screenplay by Patrick O'Neill. 102 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sequences of action violence throughout, and brief strong language. Several theaters.
"Sometimes things happen for a reason," intones Roy (Tom Cruise) to June (Cameron Diaz) after she gets bumped from her flight at the Wichita airport. It's a line that lingers after watching the silly, incoherent movie, "Knight and Day," in which Roy and June are trapped — and in which nothing seems to happen for a reason.
Oh, plenty happens: dozens of anonymous people are shot and/or killed (apparently it's OK to have numerous corpses in a PG-13 movie, as long as none of them have names), a plane drops out of the sky into a cornfield, June drives a car in a high-speed chase from the back seat, Roy demonstrates an ability to beat up several people at once and jump from buildings like Spider-Man, June successfully eavesdrops on two low-speaking people through a closed window, and a yellow bridesmaid dress survives mayhem and makes it to the wedding unscathed. It's just that there's no particular reason for any of it.
"Knight and Day," though credited to director James Mangold and screenwriter Patrick O'Neill, feels like a computer-generated assortment of random Hollywood action-movie scenes shuffled together, with the end result being an excuse for Cruise to don sunglasses and his now-familiar rakish grin. At least someone in the theater is grinning.
Roy, you see, is a particularly affable rogue spy whose plotline involves the sort of top-secret technology gizmo that tends to inspire mayhem, and June is a regular gal (she restores cars for a living) who gets accidentally caught up in his escapades. (This movie is, I think, trying to be "North by Northwest," despite being about as suspenseful, witty and Hitchcockian as, oh, "Sex and the City 2.") Off they go, on an ever-switching array of planes, trains and automobiles in various picturesque locations (the Swiss Alps! The running of the bulls in Spain! Some mysterious off-the-grid tropical beach!), moving quickly so we don't wonder how the hell they got there in the first place. Not quick enough, alas.
And at the center of all of this are two characters who are complete ciphers. At least Roy is supposed to be a blank slate, and Cruise plays him like one. But poor Diaz, who gamely tries to bring her perky A game, is stuck playing one of the more idiotic characters I've seen on screen lately. June, who hardly ever behaves like a recognizable person, falls in love with Roy, as you do when you meet a total stranger who immediately proceeds to kill a lot of people. Why is she in love with him? Because it's in the script. Because Cary Grant fell for Eva Marie Saint in "North by Northwest." Because ... what, you want a reason? You're at the wrong movie.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or email@example.com
"North by Northwest" starred Eva Marie Saint and Cary Grant. An earlier version of this story incorrectly indicated it was Saint and Jimmy Stewart.
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