I feel like Tom Cruise is still doing damage control from the whole Oprah-couch-Scientology backlash from a few years back. Knight and Day is just his latest attempt to repair his image and make movie fans remember that he used to be very likable and bankable at the box office. Knight and Day is exactly what you’d expect–a summer blockbuster focused more on action and stunts than plot and storytelling. And I’m OK with that, but if you’re going to go that route, it better be fun, exciting, and escapist.
The film kicks off ambiguously as we follow Cruise and Diaz through plane crashes, highway chases and interrogations. All style, no substance. My problem with the first act is that the viewer doesn’t know the plot and we’re forced to just hang on for the ride and trust that it will all make sense later. Another failed device has to be the use of “drugging” or “black-out” montages where the characters (mostly Cameron Diaz, and in turn, the viewer), drift in and out of consciousness with flashes of action that is meant to forward the plot and accelerate time. It’s just lazy writing.
[Quick tangent: Speaking of lazy writing, how is Cameron Diaz’s character’s last name not “Day”? June Day, yea that’s lame, but change her first name instead. My point is that Hollywood never messes up these word play phrase movie titles. If her last name is Day and you learn the Knight tie-ins to Cruise, not only is the movie title a play on the phrase and I guess their relationship/plot, it gets both of their names in their for complete synergy.]
Ultimately, the movie hinges on the chemistry between Cruise and Diaz. Diaz shows her age (along with her cosmetology) and just doesn’t quite work as the sneaky cute aloof tomboy mechanic who can’t find love. As for Cruise, it feels like he’s more concerned about looking cool in delivering a very in-control and level headed character, than connecting emotionally and making the audience root for him.
Knight and Day doesn’t make you think and is probably Cruise’s best work since Collateral. As far as action-romantic-comedies go, it’s decent. There are certainly worse ways you could spend two hours at the theatre this summer.