Knight and Day Review
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If it weren’t for his outrageous cameo in 2008’s Tropic Thunder, most moviegoers probably would have forgotten that Tom Cruise’s movies used to be fun to watch. Forget about award-season roles as Nazis and politicians and warriors. Forget about the stone-faced melodrama. Tom Cruise used to play racecar drivers and bartenders in fluffy summer popcorn flicks. He danced in his underwear. He sang Righteous Brothers songs in bars.

Fortunately, though, he’s finally decided to take some time off from being a Serious Actor (not to mention that side gig as a tabloid cover model) to have a little bit of summer fun in James Mangold’s wild-and-crazy comic caper, Knight and Day.

June Havens (Cameron Diaz) is trying to get back home to Boston for her sister’s wedding when she first bumps into Roy Miller (Cruise). He’s handsome and charming and mysterious, and she’s just about to make her move when everything goes horribly wrong. Roy somehow ends up killing everyone on their flight before crash-landing the plane in a field, drugging June, and making a run for it.

Though Roy claims to be a secret agent, June’s pretty sure he’s just nuts. He’s clearly dangerous, too. Unfortunately, she can’t get rid of him. No matter where she turns, she finds angry bad guys, stern federal agents…and Roy. Somehow, she’s gotten caught up in the middle of Roy’s mess—and she’s not sure if she can trust him to get her out of it.

It’s not necessarily a brilliant blockbuster, but Knight and Day is still a refreshing change of pace. Not only does it help to liven up a relatively ho-hum summer (at least when it comes to action and adventure), but it also lightens up Tom Cruise’s career.

When it comes to plot, there really isn’t a whole lot here—just something about a stolen energy source that’s in very high demand. But what Knight and Day lacks in story, it more than makes up for in adrenaline-pumping chase scenes. Roy and June spend most of the movie on the run, whether they’re speeding through the tunnels beneath Boston, racing through Austria on a motorcycle, or hopping in a helicopter to avoid gunfire from a fighter plane. Between the action and the light-hearted laughs, you’ll barely get a chance to catch your breath. And that’s fine by me—because when Roy and June do finally stop running, toward the end of the movie, the pacing starts to drag a bit.

Meanwhile, although James Mangold directed both Angelina Jolie (Girl, Interrupted) and Reece Witherspoon (Walk the Line) to Oscars, Cameron Diaz doesn’t need to start writing her acceptance speech quite yet. You won’t find a whole lot of depth to her role as June. Despite her tomboyish (and rather far-fetched) love of restoring classic cars, she’s just another hysterical blonde who gets herself (and everyone else) deeper and deeper into trouble because she just won’t listen. Fortunately, though Roy has no qualms about knocking her out when necessary.

But while Diaz eventually wears out her welcome, Cruise couldn’t be better—or more watchable—as Roy. It’s nice to see him fully embracing his crazy, couch-jumping side—and he’s delightfully unhinged as the secret agent who may or may not have gone rogue. With the exception of his Tropic Thunder cameo, it’s been years since anything he did on-screen was quite this entertaining.

Loaded with action and perfectly seasoned with comedy, Knight and Day is the high-energy caper that summer moviegoers have been waiting for. It’s fast and frantic—and it’s a whole lot of crazy fun.

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