Home Movies Tom Cruise New Film: So-So Reviews, Sold Out Sneak Preview

The Tom Cruise movie “Knight and Day”–his first real big budget action flick in four years–may be an accident waiting to happen.

Reviews from the two main trade papers, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, are not good.

The estimable Kirk Honeycutt writes in the Reporter: …”laziness permeates the film from the inexplicable escapes to the neglected romance…”

Justin Chang had mixed feelings in Variety. calling “Knight and Day” a high-energy, low-impact caper-comedy that labors to bring a measure of wit, romance and glamour to an overworked spy-thriller template.” Chang concludes the movie should better overseas than in the U.S.

All the advance word indicates that the film makes little sense, and that director James Mangold makes little use of a solid supporting cast.

The word I’ve gotten from those who’ve seen it is that “Knight and Day” — is a B minus/Cplus movie.  At $100 million, it also costs about a million dollars per minute. For that kind of budget, not counting promotional budgets–another $25 million–that’s not what anyone wants to hear.

I haven’t seen “Knight and Day” because it screened simultaneous to the Songwriters Hall of Fame dinner on Thursday. Like the rest of the public, I’ll catch up to it on Wednesday.

But here’s the good news: on Saturday night in at least one location–Stamford, Connecticut–the theater manager tells me the sneak preview sold out. He said, “It was an older crowd, no teens and no kids at all. They really, really liked it.” The only caveat? The manager says that many members of the audience asked him why the movie was called “Knight and Day.”

“I told them those were the characters’ names,” the manager replied. In fact, the main characters are named Roy Miller and June Havens. But it was a good on the spot response.

“You know they liked the movie because everyone stayed through the credits,” he added. Maybe to find characters named Knight and Day!

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
5 replies to this post
  1. I saw the preview and it was ok, but the big issue is that everyone knows that Tom Cruise is in his late 40’s but his character still chirps and gambols across the screen like back in his Cocktail days.

    In recent Nick Cage movies the audience spends at least half their time staring at his hair line. Here the audience wonders who the director thinks he is kidding – neither Cruise or Diaz are spring chickens but the acting implies they are cardboard late-teenage characters. Its a giant WTF.

    I bet this thing make a small but decent amount of money, if only because there is so little competition out there for a movie you could actually take a date to. And it does have recognizable movie stars in it- which is also a rare commodity right now.

    But you are right about laziness- we are just lucky they didnt 3D it.

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