June 27, 2010

Knight and Day

Knight and Day is somewhat of an updating of Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest in the sense that it offers us a fun adventure through a number of exotic or romantic locations around the world. Quickly leaving the U.S. behind for Austria, Spain, South America, even a tiny island in the middle of the ocean, this movie attempts to get in touch with the fun that Hollywood seems to have lost amidst the crusade for big, big, bigger pictures. And while Knight and Day has its share of explosions, we're always keenly aware that it's about two people.
The camera reminds us often enough with countless close-ups of stars Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise, who uses that unflattering image of himself jumping up and down on Oprah's couch to inject a frenetic, witty energy into his character. Come to think of it, Cruise may not be doing anything new, but given the bad press he's received over the last few years, it's good to see him doing something we're supposed to be laughing at. He plays the rogue CIA guy with whom Diaz--just an ordinary girl from Boston--becomes enveloped after a chance encounter at an airport. It turns out, the CIA is after Cruise because they think he's crazy and dangerous. He insists they're wrong. At least about the crazy part.
Diaz undergoes numerous blackouts due to Cruise drugging her periodically, which should be a red flag for a woman on any date with a guy who accuses the world of being out to get him. But in a movie, it's all done with good reason--for her own good, of course. Cameron Diaz has always been a very plucky heroine, and Knight and Day utilizes this to the hilt. There are moments when the movie soars above the sense of deja-vu that could have damned it as a dreadful bore, and a lot of that depends recklessly on the kinetic likability of the two leads. It's good to remember that the Hollywood media machine enjoys spitting its "has-been" celebrities out, but that doesn't mean we have to. And Cruise and Diaz prove that just because they're not new doesn't mean they can't show us a good time. They're professionals.

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