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Knight and Day

Knight and Day is absolutely insane, like a vacuum-packed array of scenes left out of ten years’ worth of action films for being too nonsensical suddenly detonating onto the screen in a mayhem-medley, fronted, for some kind of narrative consistency, by an oddly delighted Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. But it is, in the main, fun.

The two leads have a bizarre chemistry: it’s a bit like watching new age but knowing commune siblings cram too much into five minutes of playtime. Diaz is too manic and Cruise realises as much: he reigns it in a little. There are only a few unstrung Jerry Maguire moments. And it works.

Diaz is off to her sister’s wedding: at the airport, she bumps into Cruise. She likes him, even though he’s clearly a bit odd these days. Her signposted lusty, blushing glances after him tell you as much. She makes sure she bumps into him again, and, eventually, they end up on the same flight. Which is full of assassins out to get spy Cruise. He lays waste to the lot in slapstick, Grosse Point Blank fashion, and Diaz becomes an unwilling sidekick for further absurdities.

You get a fair bit of almost-nudity, islands aflame, erupting planes, engulfed cars upside down on the freeway, shootings, car chases, sub-subterfuge, a clandestine rendezvous, rooftop escapes, kidnappings and even a death-or-perhaps-not-in-the-water-last-gasp-leap, surely the last of these for a good while.

Diaz is still playing it wide-eyed dolphin-smile oh-my-God style and, unbelievably, this still works. You like her. You want no harm to come to her. She knows this and has therefore never altered her performance, and never will. Nor should she?

Cruise has openly admitted he wants to play it broader these days – probably due to no longer being taken entirely seriously, so it’s a reasonable career move. He’s a good actor, exceedingly under-rated, and he can do comedy like this without much exertion. The script, though, is less funny than it is entertaining. You wonder what Billy Wilder might have done with him.

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