Good start, so-so middle, ho-hum ending.
When a spy named Roy Miller (Tom Cruise) goes rogue, he targets a random stranger, June (Cameron Diaz), in an airport to sneak an item through security. After initially being told the flight was booked full, June is allowed onto the plane but finds herself wondering why there is only Roy and a handful of passengers on board. With no one else to talk to, June is easily taken in by Roy’s good looks and charming manner, sensing an intensity that she believes is directed towards her. After Roy subsequently kills everyone on board and crash lands the plane in the middle of nowhere, it slowly starts to sink in that June may not have have been so lucky getting onto the plane…
For every female who’s ever been infatuated with Tom Cruise (we’re talking to you, Katie Holmes), here’s your love letter. An unassuming woman from anywhere (who just happens to look like Cameron Diaz) who’s never previously met Mr. Risky Business becomes suddenly and hopelessly infatuated with him once she gets past how dangerous it is to be anywhere near him. Not only is this what the plot boils down to, it’s actually hinges on it in a late second act revelation that throws suspension of disbelief right out the window and into the street like a sackful of unwanted kittens. Did this go wrong in the editing room, or was it always this bad of an idea?
The film itself is a series of set pieces, each one bigger than the last and seemingly intent on giving Cruise an excuse to mug the camera and do extraordinary things. We’ve seen him do this kind of thing so often that only the character of June seems to be impressed by it anymore. And impressed she is, right past the point of foolishness and fully committed to stupid. The beginning of the film (like the earlier previews) suggested far more intrigue and much less of Diaz drooling over Tom, but the later previews either revealed what was really going on or placed more emphasis on what was going on in the editing room, moving away from the thriller and more towards the rescue romance as the character of June tries to pick up the ball and run with it herself.
If this was intended to be a spoof of Cruise films, it takes itself far too seriously in all the wrong places, feeling more like an ego trip than an exhibition. Besides, you should never spoof yourself when no one took what you did all that seriously to begin with (re-watch Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Last Action Hero for specifics.) In direct comparison, look at Tom’s recent roles in the under-appreciated Valkyrie or his barely recognizable, wonderfully comedic turn as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder. We’ve seen Super-Cruise quite enough, and hiring Cameron Diaz as a surrogate fanatic so that every woman in the world can imagine being swept away by Tom is narcissism of the highest order. All together now: “Less Ethan Hunt, more Les Grossman.”
(a one and a half skull recommendation out of four)