Diaz and Cruise trade toothy smiles in ‘Knight and Day,’ a boring chase movie that’s short on smirk

June Havens is typical in every way. A smoking-hot, blond car mechanic from Boston who’s returning home with a suitcase filled with car parts, she finds herself ” literally! ” bumping in the same guy over and over, in “Knight and Day.”

There’s little time in the Wichita, Kan. airport for Havens (Cameron Diaz, “Shrek Forever After”) to chat with Roy Miller (Tom Cruise, “Valkyrie”), because she’s in a hurry to get home in time for her sister’s wedding. Miller was seen scoping out Havens at the airport, but we don’t find out what his interest is until the two are airborne.

Spying on the two the whole time, a gaggle of black-suited agents led by Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard, “An Education”) and Director George (Viola Davis, “Law Abiding Citizen”) observe the action through surveillance footage and intelligence assets they’ve directed to trail the pair.

In the mostly empty plane, Havens flirts with Miller, who is coolly standoffish at first, but finally relents. Returning from the bathroom, she finds him more open to her advances. She also finds that he’s killed all the other passengers and both the pilot and co-pilot, but no worry: Miller also knows how to fly a plane.

Who is this guy? Miller insists he’s a government agent protecting a high-tech item from falling into the wrong hands, be they international arms smugglers or U.S. agents who want to sell the tech on the black market.

Of course, Director George and Fitzgerald say Miller is an American agent who’s gone rogue. Either way, Havens’ little world has coincided with Miller’s, and there’s no separating the two until this thing is seen through, and the sought-after device and its geeky, eccentric inventor, Simon Feck (Paul Dano, “Where the Wild Things Are”), are safe.

What follows is an almost two-hour chase scene, where Havens’ naivete makes every close call nearly disastrous. Thankfully, her awkwardness results in accidental bad-guy stabbings and shootings, and crazy, close-call driving antics.

“Knight and Day” is derivative, but it’s not supposed to be clever or insightful. It’s billed as a fun summer romp, but it’s plodding and hackneyed. The film has Cruise and Diaz grinning from ear to ear, but there’s not a single thing in between.

Sarsgaard is coolly creepy in his role as the shifty, untrustworthy heavy, but the only fun surprise in “Knight and Day” is Dano, who makes a hilarious savant with spotty facial hair.

This seems like an odd directorial choice for James Mangold (“3:10 to Yuma,” “Walk the Line”) until you realize that he also was responsible for “Kate & Leopold.” “Joe Wertz

Joe Wertz

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