Mr. Movie

'Knight and Day' better than most rom/coms

Pheromones fairly fly through the rom/com Knight and Day.

Tom Cruise — who has a blast with this off-kilter character — and Cameron Diaz click, proving when you combine the right actors with correct chemistry and some decent writing, even formula works.

-- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

Cruise is super spy Roy Miller. Diaz is June Havens. He is assigned to keep the inventor of a hot new energy source safe. Miller is being pursued as a rogue agent by his own organization. Stuck at an airport and worried the energy source will be found and that he’ll get caught, Miller slips it into Havens’ luggage. That puts her in the radar of the bad guys determined to get the source.

Or are they the bad guys? That’s what she wonders and what you wonder for something like — oh — 10 seconds. The two jet around the globe as Roy kills bad guys by the bunch in the usual hail of bullets, hand-to-hand combat and car chases. As an extra treat, they survive an impossible plane crash.

The biggest surprise in this no surprise, been-there-done-that-at-least-a-thousand-times plot is Cruise. Other than a clever cameo in Tropic Thunder, you have to go back to Collateral in 2004 to find the former box-office champ chewing on a character this much fun.

Though first-time movie writer Patrick O’Neill’s superb script helps, few actors have the comic skill to dangle a loose cannon character overboard at an angle that makes it work. O’Neill gives Cruise some terrific lines. The best is when he’s being chased out of a restaurant after kidnapping June and says something like, “Nobody follow us, I’ll kill myself and then kill her.”

Diaz, meanwhile, settles easily into her standard cute girl-next-door that Cruise’s comedy revolves around.

Normally flicks such as Knight and Day take what seems to be a night and day to get through. Helping the two actors and the excellent supporting cast is director James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma). His creative use of transition scenes and a rat-a-tat-tat machine-gun pace keeps the movie focused and moving forward. Comic lines are fired as fast as the hail of bullets from his characters’ seemingly endless supply of guns.

The bullets miss the target much of the time, but the comedy doesn’t.

Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars

Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It opened Wednesday, June 23rd at Regal’s Columbia Center 8 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.