18 December 2014 | dglink
Fluffy Action Comedy with Appealing Cast
Although far inferior in both concept and results, "Knight and Day" has its roots in the classic screwball comedies of the 1930's. Cute, seemingly coincidental airport encounters connect an attractive blonde, Cameron Diaz, who is en route to her sister's wedding, with a handsome man of mystery, Tom Cruise, and a series of wildly improbable events ensues. An early scene aboard a near-empty airliner is perhaps the film's highlight, as Cruise does battle with unknown assailants, while a blissfully unaware Diaz primps in the restroom, intent on seducing Cruise. Perhaps if the humor and pace of this scene had been sustained, the film would have been more successful. If Cary Grant were the dashing stranger and Katharine Hepburn the unwitting accomplice, the film would have been classic.
However, while they are attractive leads, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz are not Grant and Hepburn. Although the pair have undeniable star power and seem to be having fun, their eyes were likely focused more on the paycheck than on the superficial script which lacks the witty exchanges of classic screwball comedy. Also appearing for the money is a talented supporting cast that includes Viola Davis, Peter Sarsgaard, and Paul Dano; unfortunately, none of these gifted performers have roles that stretch their acting skills. With chases, gunfights, and rapid cutting, director James Mangold keeps the film moving at breakneck speed as the cast chases a "McGuffin" in the form of a super battery, whose importance is often lost in the sometimes confusing proceedings.
Although even the classic screwball comedies stretched credibility, Mangold's film uses CGI to create sequences that are beyond preposterous. At times, Cruise seems to be a super-hero with supernatural powers; his close encounters are unbelievable even for a Batman or Fantastic Four. As the complicated plot unfolds, the characters' motivations seem to shift, and the audience is kept guessing as to who can and cannot be trusted and who is working for whom. The action, light comedy, and appealing performers will hold viewer interest throughout, although, like cotton candy, this fluffy piece will fade from memory before the closing credits finish rolling.