Home Celebrity “Jack Reacher” Beaten by “Parental Guidance” Again, And It’s Easy to See...

The moment finally came last night. While my family was in seeing “Parental Guidance,” I sneaked next door and caught “Jack Reacher” at last. OMG, as the kids say these days. What was Tom Cruise thinking? “Jack Reacher” is losing box office daily to four other movies including the Bette Midler-Billy Crystal-Marisa Tomei flick and I can see why. “Reacher” is a befuddlement. It’s not exactly Tom Cruise’s fault, either. He is a fine actor–witness Jerry Maguire, Born on the Fourth of July, Magnolia.

You can see him struggling to make “Reacher” work. But it can’t. Cruise is completely miscast. He doesn’t get to flash his trademark smile once. “Reacher” is all gloom and doom. The character should have been played by Bruce Willis. Or even Denzel Washington. Jack Reacher is described in the books this movie is based on as six foot five. The actor doesn’t have to be that tall precisely, but a large, older sense of resignation is needed. Cruise attempts it, but his physicality does work against him.

“Reacher” is also a stagnant picture, and very talky. After the initial bout of sniper stuff (five people picked off, four of them women), “Reacher” has long sections of banter between Cruise and Rosamund Pike. Pike, by the way, must have been made to stand in trenches because she’s two or three inches taller than Cruise yet is often photographed alongside or below him. And you can tell. Anyway, Cruise’s strong suit is not glib give and take, or world weary wisecracking. He’s no Philip Marlowe. These scenes are quite exasperating.

Also, I take back the idea that this film costs more than the producers say it did. It looks like it cost 50 cents. Cruise is the most expensive object in it. And the static scenes make the under-lit, under-decorated rooms all the more glaring. Tom Cruise and ‘sparse’ are not ideas that go together. Without things whizzing past him, and exploding, he seems a little lost.

There’s talk that director Christopher McQuarrie is Cruise’s pick for the next Mission Impossible. Hmmm…As a writer maybe, but as a director? I’d rather have Tony Gilroy, who did so well this summer with The Bourne Legacy. Between this and “Valkyrie,” McQuarrie is better left to set pieces and small stages.

PS I came out of “Jack Reacher” — and a quarter filled theater at 5:30pm — mostly perplexed. The family, however, loved “Parental Guidance.”

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2 replies to this post
  1. I agree, Ryan. I didn’t read the books but my husband did and he said the same thing you did. Tom Cruise just wasn’t a good pick for bringing that character to the big screen. I knew that when people where snickering at the previews; it’s hard to take short little Tom Cruise seriously when he’s trying to be Buster Bad Ass.

  2. Probably one of the best reviews I’ve seen so far. People who haven’t read the books don’t realize how much Reacher’s size impacts all of the story lines. In the books, Reacher uses his size to help resolve almost every situation. That’s part of the fun, as he’s such a presence that you feel like he’s a tank going up against squirt guns.

    When you remove that aspect from the story, a lot of the scenes come across as very awkward. In the books you have Reacher using his size to help solve the issue, while in the movie the viewer is left with Tom Cruise trying to act big and imposing, and instead just comes across as a watered down Jason Bourne character.

    For anyone who enjoyed the movie, just think how much better it would have been using an actor with the right physical attributes it was intended for.

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