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KNIGHT AND DAY

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Rated: PG-13 for sequences of action violence throughout, and brief strong lang

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Starring: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Maggie Grace, Peter Sarsgaard and Marc Blucas

Directed by: James Mangold

What it’s about: Tom Cruise is “the guy,” a rogue spy who seems just a bit off-kilter. On a flight from Wichita to Boston, he bumps into June (Cameron Diaz), who finds herself swept up into his life of espionage and action. Together, they try to keep a mysterious new power source safe from weapons dealers, while engaging in some high-octane romance. Did I mention that Tom Cruise is “the guy”?

What I liked: Look, all you people out there who have been bemoaning the fact that Hollywood has no creativity and only produces remakes, reboots and sequels should at least be interested in this film. It’s not great, but it has a certain degree of entertainment value. And while it’s marginally similar to films like Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Killers, it is not a remake, reboot or a sequel.

The alleged originality of the film aside, I liked both Cruise and Diaz in the film. They have a passable on-screen presence, and they’re both pleasant to look at (though those close-ups on Diaz could have been toned back because her puffy face 20 feet high is not kind to her).

When the action is on screen, it’s pretty decent. It doesn’t always make sense, but it’s fun to watch. This seems to be the theme with some films this summer. Like The A-Team, Knight and Day works for fluffy, no-brainer date night fodder. You may not love it, but you should have fun watching it.

What I didn’t: The biggest problem that Knight and Day has is that it doesn’t quite live up to the trailers. Those promised us a shoot-em-up film with lots of awesome, whimsical action. Sure, we get that, but it just doesn’t seem as awesome or whimsical as it comes across in the 2 1/2 minute previews. I’m pretty convinced that it’s because those short mini-movies already show us the best parts.

While Cruise and Diaz have decent chemistry, they just don’t seem into the film… or each other. Both are getting a bit long in the tooth to play their roles, and as evidenced in their bathing suit scene, they look good for average people but just come across as sub-part against other younger Hollywood icons.

But at its core, Knight and Day just seems conflicted. Whether its a result of studio meddling, shifting script focus, bad editing or a director who isn’t an action guy, the movie doesn’t start the same way it ends. It really seems like Knight and Day wants to be an action spy film but is put upon to be a rom com, or it wants to be a rom com and is put upon to be an action spy film.

Who is gonna like this movie: Anyone who constantly complains that every movie this summer is a remake, reboot or a sequel.

Grade: B-

GROWN UPS

Studio: Columbia Pictures

Rated: PG-13 for crude material including suggestive references, language and some male rear nudity

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider and David Spade

Directed by: Dennis Dugan

What it’s about: Five friends gather their families together for the weekend after attending the funeral for their old basketball coach. And let the hilarity ensue. Or let other things ensue in hilarity’s place.

What I liked: I will admit that there were some funny moments of the film, but I’m pretty sure you’ve all seen those in the trailers. There is a certain charm with the cast, who are friends in real life, bantering with each other. Oh, and co-stars Salma Hayek and Maria Bello look pretty nice in the film (as do Rob Schneider’s “daughters” Madison Riley and Jamie Chung).

What I didn’t: The story… of which there is none. This movie seems like just a huge excuse for some SNL alums to get together for a few weeks and hang out. They don’t really seem to be trying in any aspect of the film. The jokes almost all fall flat, often resulting from mediocre improv sessions. Gags and one-liners are repeated for no good reason, and many elements of the film (a pregnant Maya Rudolph and a rich and famous Adam Sandler) have been retread from earlier movies.

Like so many films try (and fail) to do, Grown Ups resorts to awkward moments of raunch. But unlike rare films like The Hangover and Superbad, the raunchy scenes just don’t work. They are either forced or just plain silly… to the point of no longer being funny. It’s actually quite excruciating to watch.

Finally, from a parent’s perspective, I just couldn’t get into the family aspect of this family comedy. Not only does the film drop a massive Tooth Fairy spoiler (food for thought to anyone hoping to ignore the PG-13 rating and bring their six-year-old), but all the kids in the movie are bigger assholes than their parents. One weekend of fun at a cabin isn’t going to change the fact that you have whiney, narcissistic, egomaniacal, rude and ungrateful hell-children.

Who is gonna like this movie: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider and David Spade.

Grade: D-

Want to see what Kevin had to say about these films on TV? Check out his interview on FOX…


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