The Tourist
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp
Rating: *1/2

As a thriller, The Tourist makes a good travelogue.

It’s as awkward as an unfolded map and as infuriating as a border bureaucrat. If you’re content with watching the beautiful Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie get chased along the cobblestones of Paris and the canals of Venice, then it fulfills those low eye-candy expectations.

Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck made The Lives of Others, one of the most thoughtful and unsettling thrillers of the past decade. He co-wrote The Tourist screenplay, adapting it from a French film, along with two fine writers: Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park, Young Victoria). Why are they now settling for pretty pictures and mediocrity?

You’d also expect more combustion between Jolie and Depp. Instead they strike poses: she dresses and walks like she’s on a fashion runaway; he runs around in his pajamas as if he’s in a Buster Keaton movie.

Jolie is British mystery woman Elise Ward, who is up to something. She’s wanted by Scotland Yard and Interpol, who watch her every move through secret cameras.

Depp is Wisconsin math teacher Frank Tupelo, the tourist of the title. Frank is up to nothing and he’s wanted by nobody — until he gets mixed up with Elise.

There is banter, none of it memorable. There are the requisite action set pieces, none of them terribly exciting. The lazy script is the main beef.

The Tourist looks as if everybody just felt like going on a fun trip to Europe. A fine time was had by all, except the sorry viewer.

Extras include a director’s commentary, several featurettes and an outtake reel.

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