KNIGHT AND DAY:

From the very beginning, this action movie/romantic comedy eschews the sublime and goes straight for the ridiculous. The opening sequence features a high-altitude, mid-air shoot out climaxed by a plane crash in a corn field, where the two lead characters (Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz) walk away with nary a scratch. The plot is just as unbelievable with Cruise (See sidebar below.) engaging in self-parody as an “off the grid” secret agent trying to protect a nerdy scientist (Paul Dano), who’s invented a battery with an unlimited power supply, as well as Diaz (THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY) who’s used as a mule to transport it. They’re pursued by CIA agents with a plethora of surveillance equipment and the inability to figure out that one of their operatives (Peter Sarsgaard) is in cahoots with an international arms dealer (Jordi Molla). The characters are as flimsy as one-ply toilet paper and scene segues are ineffectively handled by “overmedicating” Diaz and having her wake up in exotic locales without any explanation as to how she was transported internationally while unconscious. The comedy seems forced and the romance angle comes on much too abruptly. As good as the stunt work is, I couldn’t help feeling that the stunts were lifted from films with BOURNE in the title. As a result, they wound up being rather uninvolving. That’s an appropriate adjective to describe this flick which is long on style but lacking in credibility and believable substance. I would have thought that a movie with the star power it has would have generated far more wattage than it actually does. CRITIC’S GRADE: C

LOTS BETTER MOVIES STARRING TOM CRUISE: RISKY BUSINESS (1983), ALL THE RIGHT MOVES (1983), THE COLOR OF MONEY (1986), RAIN MAN (1988), BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY (1989)*, A FEW GOOD MEN (1992), JERRY MAGUIRE (1996)*, MAGNOLIA (1999)**, MINORITY REPORT (2002), THE LAST SAMURAI (2003), WAR OF THE WORLDS (2005), MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III (2006), TROPIC THUNDER (2008)

*Academy Award nomination for Best Actor

**Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor