| The pairing of attractive movie stars Tom Cruise (“Mission: Impossible”) and Cameron Diaz (“Charlie’s Angels”) usually translates into box office gold. This globetrotting action adventure directed by James Mangold (“Walk the Line”) is proof that too many cooks spoil the broth. The glaring red flag is that seven screenwriters were involved in rewrites of the original script. The resulting patchwork story appears to be held together by chewing gum and popsicle sticks.
Roy Miller (Cruise) and June Havens (Diaz) bump into each other in the terminal of the Wichita airport. June is a car mechanic who owns her own garage in Boston. She came all the way to the Midwest to procure a carburetor for a vintage GTO intended to be given as a wedding present to her younger sister. Miller is a charming espionage operative who brings instant excitement and a sense of danger to her life.
Their plane full of dead passengers crash lands in a Kansas corn field. They end up on the run from federal intelligence agents and unsavory assassins employed by an international arms dealer. The story makes no sense and is just an excuse for a series of action sequences involving car chases, shootouts and explosions. The daring stunts are over the top and reach ludicrous levels of implausibility. The nonsensical dialogue contains a few instantly forgettable one-liners.
Cruise and Diaz have zero chemistry and the passionate kisses they share materialize out of the blue. Even though the running time is under two hours, the movie seems interminable. It fails to hold your interest and you stop caring about what happens to the two leads.
Cruise maintains the same stoic and determined expression, rarely cracking a smile. Diaz plays the dumb and ditsy blonde to the hilt. She is never quite sure what is happening, but always ends up wearing a new outfit everywhere she goes.
The original title “Wichita” would have been more appropriate than the catchy one on the marquee. The best suggestion is to wait for the much cheaper rental charge if you must watch this lightweight escapist fantasy that comes up short in comedy and romance.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"