Greetings again from the darkness. I am often accused of taking movies too seriously rather than just sitting back and enjoying the entertainment value. Well, this latest from director Dexter Fletcher (ROCKETMAN 2019, EDDIE THE EAGLE 2015) is textbook ‘popcorn entertainment’ made for those who prefer to sit back and enjoy. There is plenty to like here and it did generate a few laughs, yet it’s still a movie that doesn’t hold up to much thought or post-viewing discussion. SPIDER-MAN collaborators Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, and DEADPOOL collaborators Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have joined forces on a script that somehow doesn’t have the dialogue zings that can keep pace with the action sequences.
An early meet-cute occurs as organic family farmer Cole Turner (Chris Evans bucking his Captain America persona) unknowingly flirts with market shopper Sadie Rhodes (Ana de Armas, fresh off her Oscar nomination for BLONDE, 2022), recommending she purchase a cactus rather than a Begonia once she discloses her work travel schedule. An all-day and all-night date ends with Cole telling his family that “she may be the one.” His caustic sister (Lizzie Broadway) skewers him with the funniest one-liners in the film while informing that his smothering texts and emojis have likely caused Sadie to ghost him.
It’s at this point where the clumsy organic farmer turns into an extreme stalker and heads to London … don’t ask what trick allowed him to track her. A photo op at Tower Bridge ends with Cole being abducted and presumed to be “The Taxman” (cue Beatles song), the only person with the code to unlocking a chemical weapon in the possession of arms dealer and dastardly bad buy Leveque (Oscar winner Adrien Brody). Of course, Sadie rescues Cole at the last minute, and her cover as an international art curator is blown … surprise! She’s actually a highly-skilled CIA spy.
Three major action sequences are featured: an exciting bus-in-reverse along a mountain side road in Pakistan, a fight scene aboard a private jet, and a guns-blazing shootout in a rotating high-rise restaurant. Ana de Armas is terrific in the action sequence and her rapport with Chris Evans (first noted in KNIVES OUT, 2019) elevates the toothless banter between the two. It’s a bit shocking that this group of writers couldn’t land on wittier and sharper comments for these two characters as they bounce around the globe … even racing up THE EXORCIST stairway. At times it feels like an episode of “Get Smart”, although the action sequences are first rate.
Supporting roles are held by Mike Moh, Amy Sedaris, Tate Donovan, and the always fun Tim Blake Nelson. Many will enjoy the hand full of cameos that pop up, at least one “Wilhelm scream”, and the sometimes obvious and/or cheesy song selection … a rare soundtrack to include both The Knack and Dua Lipa. The film leans more into cute than witty and danger, but with two of the most attractive stars working today, that’s forgivable. Just get your popcorn ready and sit back and enjoy this rom-com/action-thriller, and don’t think too much.
The film will be on Apple TV+ on April 21.
Everyone I know wants to see this movie, and of course so do I. And lucky me, I have Apple TV.
Thanks for the review