Knight and Day
Directed by James Mangold
Starring Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz
Is it too much of a “spoiler” to “reveal” that a certain movie cannot be spoiled? That a movie has no big surprises on offer to blow you away? That a movie is absolutely, 100 percent, nothing more than what is up there on the screen right at the tippy-top surface of the story?
Subtext? Suspense? Just an itty-bitty twist? Bah!
Who needs it! Knight and Day may have generic characters doing generic things in generic situations, but it’s got Movie Stars with huge white smiles looking pretty and being blandly inoffensive in exotic foreign locales. What’s that? You need more than that? Why do you hate Hollywood?
Look: Everything that Knight and Day is doing, basic cable is doing way better these days. You want spy comedy in an exotic locale that’s actually funny and exciting and intense and witty and smart and suspenseful? Go watch Burn Notice on USA, which kicks Knight and Day’s ass back to 1986, where it came from. I mean, fer the love of Jason Bourne, K&D has a “we go on 1, 2, 3” joke, and Lethal Weapon would like it back.
The 1980s would also like back its ditzy blonde.
Cameron Diaz’s June is like something out of an old sitcom, a cute nincompoop who is utterly incapable of doing anything remotely not idiotic unless she’s been dosed with a disinhibiting truth serum. Girls be like that, you know, all hung up and repressed and stuff unless they’re intoxicated, and then — woo-hoo! — look out. People treat June like a moron, and she doesn’t even notice. When she tries to tell her boyfriend (Marc Blucas) about how Tom Cruise totally went spy apeshit on her airline flight and freakin’ crashed it into an Iowa cornfield, he acts like she makes up outrageous tall tales like this on a regular basis. But there’s no evidence that June is supposed to be mentally ill.
That would have been an awesome cool twist for Knight and Day to take: that June is mentally ill and imagining the whole thing because the CIA spiked her orange juice in the psych ward with LSD. But that’s not what is going on. What is going on is exactly what it looks like is going on: Tom Cruise, who is calling himself Roy Miller here, has to protect a MacGuffin device from bad guys, and now June is caught up in it all. Who is Roy? Why should June trust him? Don’t worry: Your world will not be rocked by the answers to those questions.
The script plays like a student exercise. The title means nothing. The film seems to believe that it’s revealing something important when it lets us know, late in the film, that Roy’s surname is actually Knight, but this has no bearing whatsoever on anything at all. We already figured his name for a fake, because — hello! — we’ve seen one or two superspy movies before, and anyway, so what? Maybe the title might make sense if we could try to convince ourselves that it’s a reference, if a poor one, to how different Roy and June are, the spy and the ditz. Except June’s last name isn’t Day.
And then there’s the nonsense about how June is unconscious for most of the really cool spy stuff, like traveling to exotic places where spies hang out (the Caribbean, the Alps, etc.), which I think is maybe meant to be sorta meta, skipping right over the connecting stuff, but it’s even more annoying than June herself. She’s a stupid bint who doesn’t even have a passport, and she gets to travel to all these exotic places.
For free. With a spy. And we’re not even gonna get some spy service about dodging customs and such? No fair!