PLOT: An agent (Cruise), suspected of going rouge, involves an ordinary woman (Diaz) in his plot to rescue a young scientist who's made an amazing break through.
WHO'S IT FOR? Popcorn, bubble gum, whatever you want in a summer blockbuster, this one delivers for wide audiences. Yes, you need to be able to stand Cruise and Diaz. For some of you, I know that's tough.
EXPECTATIONS: Nothing special. Though this was hitting at a time when "summer blockbusters" have disappointed. Yes, Jonah Hex and A-Team I'm looking at you.
Tom Cruise as Roy Miller: We get a huge, heaping pile of crazy Cruise, and I love it. You know that guy that showed up on Oprah's couch and jumped all around, he's back. Only this time, he's embracing it and we're all on the same team. Admit it, you think he's got a couple of screws loose, don't you? Well, this is the character you've been waiting for. He actually breaks new ground on screen with this character. Not that he needs to, but Cruise once again proves he's a blockbuster star. He's also still captain of the "Actors who look super cool while running" team. Score: 8
Cameron Diaz as June: Katherine Heigl, please read this section. It's important. Mainly because you tried to do this same type of character in Killers and failed. Thank god Diaz doesn't try to go ditsy. Even times when the lady accidentally holds down a trigger on a semi-automatic for WAY too long, it's tolerable. Mainly though, she's a pretty average woman, stuck WAY in over her head. They don't slow down the film to let her catch up. Plus, who would have thought truth serum could feel fresh and new? Score: 7
Peter Sarsgaard as Fitzgerald: Peter is plain. That's not cool. I want him as crazy as Cruise here. It's really just wasted opportunity as he heads up a team of agents who are trying to take Roy Miller down. Score: 4
Paul Dano as Simon Feck: I don't think he nails one joke and I kept waiting for them to pull off that terrible facial hair and say it was part of a disguise. I didn't get my wish. Score: 4
TALKING: It works. Roy over explains what he's going to do, with fantastic affect. And for the most part June responds with appropriate shock. The dialogue is at its best when it appears that Roy is not only a super agent, but a bit of a stalker. Score: 7
SIGHTS: I think I liked Roy's private island the best. Actually I know I did, because when June blew the cover it killed me that he could never go back. The running with the bulls is the one action sequence that didn't really work for me. The airplane fight sequence was top notch, and the use of having June go in and out of consciousness while Roy is dragging her around the world is fantastic. Also, did you notice Roy seems to always "have an app for that"? Yeah, I want some of those. Score: 8
SOUNDS: We get some odd music moments here. "Private Eyes" makes an appearance. "Louie, Louie" by The Kingsmen gets many turns on the jukebox. Something like Black Eyed Peas comes in at the end. Score: 6
BEST SCENE: Roy, hanging upside down, trying to explain to June that everything will be OK, is great fun. One, it sets the stage that Roy can get out of any situation. Two, it shows the movie can quickly take us anywhere. Three, while Roy can do anything, he realizes it's a little easier (and a little quieter) if he knocks June out.
ENDING: I like to think of this ending in a slightly different way, even though it's clear that it's not the movie's intention ... He's dead. Think about it, it almost works that he's dreaming at the end. Otherwise, it's a fairly nice bookend from where Roy and June began their adventure.
QUESTIONS: Why bore us in the middle of the movie? You practically crush all of the fun you've created for the sake of ... showing his family life? Showing our good guy might be a villain? None of these are good enough reasons.
REWATCHABILITY: You put a remote in my hand and I can't wait to watch the first 45 minutes and I will happily sit through the final 25 all well. In other words, there will be some fast-forwarding.
Tom Cruise delivers. We needed a non-superhero, non-animated film that was a good time at the movie theater. Hollywood is constantly mashing two "stars" together and hoping to strike gold. Ashton Kutcher/Katherine Heigl and are just two of the latest groupings to fail.
It's a really fun ride. Cruise and Diaz work well together because they don't just make Diaz a damsel in distress. She can throw a punch, she's just never been in the situation where she's had to. It's unfortunate they take Roy away from us in the middle of the film, and just give us a fairly boring excursion with June. The film never fully gets back to form after that, and there are still some good moments with June being really excited by our super agent Roy, thanks to some truth serum.
Director Mangold is creating quite a career hoping from genre to genre. Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma and now this. It's always good to be able to trust in a director, and now he fully has mine.
Get your popcorn, and get in line for a summer action comedy that delivers ... 3/4th of the time.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10