Jen's Rating:

3.0

Mission: Impossible IV: Vanilla Spy

Who's In It: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Marc Blucas, Paul Dano, Peter Sarsgaard, Viola Davis, Gal Gadot, Celia Weston, Jordi Mollà, Maggie Grace

The Basics: Tom Cruise is Roy Miller, a government agent gone rogue who meets cute with daffy blonde June Havens (Cameron Diaz) in a Wichita, Kansas airport. After using June as a mule to smuggle a stolen super battery made by a crazy-haired scientist kid (Paul Dano), Roy stalks June around Boston trying to protect her from all the baddies that he's inadvertently brought into her life. Then Roy shoots June's friend, drugs June, carts her off to Austria, Spain, and his hidden rape island jungle hideaway, puts her in the line of fire, AND almost makes her miss her sister's wedding -- all of which, naturally, makes June fall head over heels in love with him.

What's The Deal: Okay, so Knight and Day sounds a bit creepy on paper. On screen, however, the combination of Cruise and Diaz plays startlingly well; he's a more courteous and gregarious (but no less deadly) version of his Mission: Impossible persona, she plays a variation on that gorgeous space cadet-surfer girl-tomboy shtick she does so well. Together, this odd couple pairing actually crackles (and you won't even notice the apple boxes Cruise must have been standing on). Knight and Day may not be as perfectly engineered as Cruise's pearly whites or Diaz's washboard abs, but it stays mostly afloat on the strength of its leads even as the plot gets sillier, CG bulls start flying through the air, and the 110 minute runtime has you fidgeting in the aisles. Put it another way: this is just the kind of thinly scripted, crowd-pleasing summer flick that's sure to nab director James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma) his next Teen Choice Award. So there's that.

Filmmaking Cheat With The Biggest Impact: A running gag in which Roy drugs June repeatedly because she freaks out like an idiot in dangerous moments comes to fruition when we see five-second snatches of an epic action movie sequence through June's hazy, drug-addled point of view. Within a minute's time we see her time-lapse perspective: the inside of a prison cell, the aftermath of Roy's Houdini-like escape, the inside of a helicopter on fire, and then voila! June wakes up on the beach.

Things That Occasionally Distracted Me From The Lack Of Chemistry Between Cruise And Diaz, The Overlong Runtime, The Clichéd Conspiracy Plot Line, And My "Tom Cruise As Couch-Jumping Scientology Weirdo" Phobia: All the fun that Cruise and Diaz were obviously having whilst racing cars, shooting guns and racing cars whilst simultaneously shooting guns in the gorgeously photographed streets of Seville, Spain and Saltzburg, Austria. The way that Cruise subtly evokes his public persona in a manner that suggests he's much more self-aware than we've given him credit for. Also, an amusing scene in which Diaz is injected with truth serum. Along with her character's grease monkey background and the sight of June backwards-straddling Roy on a motorcycle while shooting at bad guys, Diaz's maniacal laugh attack almost made up for the annoyingly inept and stupid ways in which her constantly frazzled and insecure character gave tomboys everywhere a bad name.

For A Sexier, More Psychotic Version Of Knight and Day: Watch Vanilla Sky, the R-rated psychological thriller that first paired Cameron Diaz behind the wheel as Tom Cruise's slightly crazy love interest -- with somewhat different results.

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