Movie Review – Knight and Day (2010)

by HELEN GEIB

A globe-trotting comic adventure starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, Knight and Day is terrific light entertainment.

All too often “for adults” really means “not for children.” Knight and Day is a movie for adults, but not for the usual negative reasons; it’s a soft PG-13 for some comic violence, and has no profanity or explicit sexuality. Rather, it’s a movie for adults for the positive reason that it has an adult sensibility.

Roy (Cruise) and June (Diaz) meet when they bump into each other- literally walk into each other, twice- at the Wichita airport. They feel an immediate attraction which grows as they chat on the nearly empty flight to Boston. Their “meet cute” is suddenly interrupted, however, when Roy takes out the rest of the passengers and the flight crew, who are actually a CIA hit team after Roy for stealing the product of a top-secret government clean energy research program. (No prize for guessing that he is in fact, innocent- Roy is the hero, and this is very light light entertainment). June meanwhile is in the lavatory fixing her hair and giving herself a pep talk. Completely oblivious to the takedown while it’s happening and freaked out by the results, she will grow from reluctant traveling companion to indispensable partner over the course of her further adventures with Roy. That “accidental” meeting June thought was fate, but was actually engineered by Roy as part of his escape plan, was really fate all along.

The opening segment’s buoyant mix of comedy, romance, and adventure sets the tone for everything that follows. Director James Mangold keeps the pace lively and the mood at exactly the right degree of knowing. The film glows with the brightness of a major Hollywood studio production. It was filmed on-location in exotic locations; is brimful with car chases, foot chases, hand-to-hand fights, and shootouts designed to please the most demanding action movie fan; and bounces along to a musically varied score that always strikes just the note to keep things light and humorous.

Knight and Day is an unapologetic star vehicle. It showcases Cruise and Diaz’s proven star power. Their on-screen presence, their sex appeal, their comic timing is its foundation. It rests on Cruise’s facility for playing cocky but charismatic action hero and Diaz’s facility for playing intelligent yet ditzy rom-com heroine. Simply put, it’s their charm. Those viewers immune to either star’s high-wattage smile will find much less in the film to enjoy, and might even- gasp!- not even enjoy it at all.

Of the three strands of comedy, romance, and adventure, the comedy dominates. The action always has a comedic edge and Roy and June are a comedy duo as much as they are a hot item. Patrick O’Neill’s script supplies a lot of funny lines of dialogue, and script and visuals have many clever touches.

One of the cleverest bits is that a lot of the fun is in what isn’t shown. The end of the airplane adventure sets up an excellent running joke that falls into this category. June is freaking out so Roy slips her a sedative that puts her to sleep; cut to her waking up in her own bed (in a house now festooned with post-its on which Roy has written reminders to pretend she doesn’t know him and to eat a good breakfast). Roy and June will make several more trans-continental journeys during which only one of them will be fully conscious, such as their escape from the clutches of a drug kingpin’s hired mercenaries in Boston to the temporary refuge of Roy’s tropical island safehouse, in stages glimpsed through a drug-induced haze. There’s a delightful audacity to it.

4 stars

12 responses to “Movie Review – Knight and Day (2010)

  1. Hmm…I liked the film, but I wouldn’t give it 3 stars. The whole set-up to get June back home twist thing was a bit far-fetched for me, and I’m not exactly a big fan of Diazs’ acting.

    But I have to admit, there were definitely some original ideas in here. I really liked the scenes in which June kept slipping in and out of consciousness, with Roy in the background saying, “I know this looks bad! But we’re gonna get out!” with such an optomstic tone.

  2. I mean, I would give it 3 stars.

  3. Do smiles still sell tickets? I personally believe that Hollywood actors are getting uglier with every generation, or even every decade… But I will admit that Cruise still has his charm. :O)

    • The question on every studio executive’s and box office pundit’s lips: Will Julia Roberts’ smile sell tickets to Eat Pray Love?

      • It’ll probably do moderately. I never liked Roberts’ smile, it’s bloody huge like Cameron Diaz’s. I never liked Julia Roberts in general but Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich, and The Mexican I enjoyed a lot.

  4. This was such fun! And there was a night time rooftop chase, which is a special treat all by itself. Smiles with charm still sell tickets, I think, but it’s next to impossible to maintain a screen persona anymore that’s separate from real life. I practice rigorous avoidance of such knowledge of the personal lives of movie stars/celebrities because it does affect my ability to lose myself in a movie and believe in a character.

    • Yeah, no matter Mel Gibson says from now on nothing will deter me from his movies; acted in or personally directed.

  5. I’ve watched it. and this movie is very good :D

  6. This might be the movie that will make you love Tom Cruise again. (And forget about the couch jumping, post-partum, and Scientology for a couple hours.) I think Diaz acting was improved in this film as well. She was still kooky, goofy, Diaz, but toned down and directed in a way that works for the part. I liked Roy’s Chivalrous, polite, protective, and engaging character in this film. You can say that I am simple, easily led, or one of the millions who is charmed by a smile, but I really don’t care. If I can escape, be entertained, made to laugh, swoon, and be engaged for a couple hours, then I guess I got my money’s worth! I am not so pretentious that I cannot be entertained by a film like this. It was delightful and I am glad I saw it!

    • For many years I have operated under the policy that it’s best to know as little as possible about the personal lives of the people behind the movies. Tom Cruise is the perfect example of the wisdom of that policy.

      Thanks for the comment. :=) I also was completely charmed by this movie.

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