Believe it: Despite trailers — and the terrible title — making you think otherwise, “Knight and Day” is a great movie.
This pleasant surprise is all thanks to director James Mangold (“3:10 to Yuma,” “Walk the Line”), who knows how to actually pull of an intelligent summer blockbuster, and an actor we once worshipped by the name of Tom Cruise.
Yes — the Tom Cruise. (Why have we spent the past five years disliking him? Is it because of Scientology? Couch jumping? The eye patch in “Valkyrie”?) He shows the world just what we’ve been missing as Roy Miller, an unfailingly polite yet unstoppable American spy who is being double-crossed by a dirty agent — or is he? The audience keeps guessing as to Miller’s motives, but one thing is for sure — when he wears sunglasses and grins, Cruise has never been more charming (“Risky Business” included).
Cruise is well complemented by Cameron Diaz, who stars as June, a Boston woman who gets wrapped up in Miller’s case. Although her usual wide-eyed, ditzy routine can get old, in “Knight and Day,” it works perfectly; Diaz really shines while juggling the butterflies of a new relationship with the insane, dangerous (and continent-crossing) situations in which she’s placed.
Mangold has fun with the pithy script and exotic locales where they shoot; it’s a beautiful, fanciful nod to romantic films of the past (“Romancing the Stone” and “Charade” come to mind) with a wry eye to the Bourne and even “Mission: Impossible” action flicks of today.
Sure, it’s a bit too long, and a bit too mainstream, and doesn’t make you think — but all in all, it’s the perfect big-budget summer movie.
Welcome back, Tom.