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Monday, July 12, 2010  

M. Ovie Reviews: Knight and Day

I was surprised by Knight and Day. I went in expecting a big, dumb movie, and it certainly is that. But overall, I liked it more than I expected to. There's a great deal that doesn't make any sense, but the action sequences move fast enough that you don't have time to think about them. Which is good because a lot of the action sequences don't make sense either.

What I didn't expect was that the chick would be the lead. It's really her story and her arc, even if most of it is initiated and catalyzed by the dude. Who in turn isn't so much a character as an over-the-top action hero with unlimited skills. "Who are you?" she keeps asking him. Exactly.

Tom Cruise is game, and good for him, but he's miscast. Yes, it's kind of witty to put him in a role where he's essentially a self-parodic version of fantasy masculinity, but I think they could have taken it even farther with a different actor. I don't know that actor's name, but you probably know who his face, and his voice, and even his smell. With that actor, I think Knight and Day might have gone something like this:

[And yes, I normally try to keep these spoiler-free, but that wouldn't really work here with what I'm about to do. You've been warned.]

"Hello, June (Cameron Diaz). Fantastic to meet you. Do you want a man who wears sunglasses in an airport and keeps bumping into you? Of course not, that's the obnoxious behavior of a man who smells like a lady. You want a man who can banter winningly with you on a nearly-empty plane without having to shout over the engine noise, and then kill all your pesky fellow flyers with his bare hands. The kind of man who can then land the plane singlehandedly in a cornfield, and give you invaluable advice which you will later ignore at your peril, but who for now will send you into a literal swoon as he sweeps you into his arms -- arms that smell like a man. A man and spilled jet fuel.

"A man who will arrange for you to wake up securely in your own bed the next morning, a man who'll leave a perfectly turned omelet for you in your kitchen, a man who will save you from yourself even when you ignore his manly advice and get into that car with that man from Garden State who smells like a lady. Question not, June, why the man you met last night left you at his mercy in the first place, because if he had not done so, there would be no reason for him to ride to your rescue on a motorcycle from which he will SWAN DIVE in midair to the roof of your car and engage in an heroic gunfight with your captors, while still smelling like your perfect omelet.

"Perhaps, June, this is all too much for you. What you don't yet know is that you have embarked on a Joseph Campbell-style 'hero's journey,' which is what happens when some anonymous nobody who smells like a lady is reluctantly plucked from his humdrum life and becomes a man. A man who survives adventures, faces challenges, who is tested, who discovers his own unique skills, becomes powerful, and able to bestow boons on his friends with his bare hands. In short, the man you could smell like, although in this case, the man is a lady, namely you, so continuing to smell like a lady is perfectly acceptable. It may also be why your sister ends up getting so thoroughly screwed.

"Yes, it's true that the hero's journey also usually includes meeting a diverse cast of friends, but you've already met a man who can shepherd you safely through a gunfight, rescue both of you from your ensuing captivity, then take you skydiving to his own private island where he will bring you fish directly from the ocean with his bare hands. And that, June, smells to me like all the friends you need. Time for you to be unconscious again.

"Perhaps later you will find yourself doubting this new man, but that is all part of his plan to keep you safe. That's not a rat you smell, but the smell of a man.

"Look at yourself, June. Now look at me. Now back at yourself. Now back at me. We're now more alike than you realize. By now you are able to take out an entire motorcade of pursuing hit men while sitting backwards on the handlebars of a speeding motorcycle driven by me, The Man Your Man Could Smell Like. Also, it's during the running of the bulls.

"Now watch in amazement as your new man, who has been spending the entire movie holding onto that thing everyone wants, uses that same thing to destroy his nemesis. Anything is possible, especially in the third act, when your man pulls the ultimate reversal and you rescue him. By which I mean me. Congratulations, June. Your journey is complete, and now that we're on the lam you'll probably want to change your last name to Day so the title of this movie will make some kind of sense. I'm wearing shorts."

(Credits roll over the whistling of a jaunty tune)

posted by M. Giant 8:07 AM 1 comments


I won't see anything with Tom in it, but I would see that movie.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 12, 2010 at 1:34 PM  

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