Written by / 3/25/2014 / No comments / , , , ,

SIX DAYS SEVEN NIGHTS VS KNIGHT AND DAY

year: 1998 rating: *1/2
Not to drop names, but watch your feet because here comes one now: There was a memorable afternoon spent at famous movie critic, author and television personality Leonard Maltin’s house, and he was discussing his abhor for the (at that time) new release KNIGHT AND DAY, where Tom Cruise and a reluctant Cameron Diaz go on a somewhat unexpected adventure… 

Being quite nervous, and trying to relate with a real critic, yours truly chimed in: “That seems like a high tech version of SIX DAYS SEVEN NIGHTS,” wherein Leonard’s face narrowed to a caustically annoyed scowl, and he retorted loudly: “Well it’s not that bad!”

No, Len, it certainly isn’t, and in actuality, NIGHTS, directed by GHOSBUSTERS genius Ivan “Who Should Have Known Better” Reitman, is even worse than… most things, really, being that Anne Heche had absolutely no chemistry with… not only Harrison Ford’s grungy small time tropical pilot Quinn Harris but just about everyone else: she seems completely awkward in a mainstream film, and simply tries too hard to be a universally likable, or in this particular case, a bankable actress…

Starting with our futzy heroine, Heche’s Robin Monroe, a New York magazine editor whose fiancé Frank, played with horrendously forced, mopey countenance by FRIENDS star David Schwimmer, gives her an anniversary gift: a week long trip to a tropical island.

My Lunch With Leonard
So far what we’ve learned about these characters isn't interesting enough to command cinematic attention, so it takes Ford’s cocky pilot… channeling Humphrey Bogart and yes, even Han Solo… to bring some intrigue to the proceedings, which never happens. Even when, after Robin is called back to New York for a work emergency, and she and polar opposite Quinn crash-land on a deserted island, his maverick persona never achieves the kind of rogue charm needed to counter Heche’s neurotic dizziness. Han and Leia they ain't.

Backing up a bit: Heche’s performance is exceptionally horrific when, while the plane is about to crash land, she takes a load of pills and begins singing and acting… that’s right, acting… zany and humorous, achieving neither state... And when the unlikely couple finally begin to spark interest after battling snakes, drug pirates, and opening up about their own empty lives, the audience is left with a mediocre adventure that tries really hard for suspense despite the hollow characters.

Sporadically cutting back to the resort, where Robin’s dopey fiancé dodges the seductions of Quinn’s sexy belly dancer girlfriend, is not only banal and unfunny but takes the viewer away from the deserted island, where, even though the most unlikely, uninteresting, an uneventful romance is shaping up, at least it's the story we paid for… Who needs two nightmares for the price of one?

year: 2010 rating: ***
Okay so here's an archive review, or more of a summary write-up, of KNIGHT AND DAY, being that Mr. Maltin despised this film, and it was (as described above) clumsily compared to SIX DAYS, SEVEN NIGHTS with the premise of a sturdy man and his reluctant damsel caught up in an unexpected odyssey...  And during this time, pre GHOST PROTOCOL, Tom was at the peak of his downturn following the Brooke Shields medical lecture, the Oprah couch leaping, and a string of box office duds... 

KNIGHT AND DAY: It seems America is sick of the resilient, seemingly perpetual superstar Tom Cruise, which may be the reason for the disappointing returns of this over-the-top team-up involving rogue ex-CIA Cruise helping the "girl next door," Cameron Diaz, survive attacks from trains, planes, and automobiles. 

But the movie itself isn't altogether bad, and being a satire of high-octane thrillers, delivering too much action with characters surviving too many close-calls than humanly possible, it works despite itself: on purpose. Without being too overly aware/LAST ACTION HERO about it, Tom is parodying his action-packed persona while Cameron Diaz never quite knows if her knight is on the right side, and either does the audience: except that it's Tom Cruise, who's always (excluding TAPS and COLLATERAL) gonna win. 

While the turnout is predictable, the twists in-between are still a fresh surprise. So while Leonard was right... compared to SIX DAYS, SEVEN nights, it's not that bad... On its own, KNIGHT AND DAY isn't altogether awful, either. 
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