"Ghosted" stars Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, Mike Moh, Tim Blake Nelson, Marwan Kenzari, Anna Deavere Smith, Lizzie Broadway, Mustafa Shakir, and Tiya Sircar. Released on Apple TV+ on April 21, 2023, the film is about a man who discovers his girlfriend is a CIA agent.
The film was directed by Dexter Fletcher, who also directed films such as "Wild Bill", "Eddie the Eagle", and "Rocketman". You might think you know plenty of things about your future significant other, but there's actually everything that you don't know about them. They could be a criminal, a cheating butthead, or even a secret agent tasked with protecting the world from evil. So when the truth about the latter comes out, you might want to wear something fancy for this "date" or at least carry a gun. After taking a shot at reviewing a movie from Apple TV+ a couple of weeks ago via "Tetris", I decided to keep that streaming train going with a film that's more action-packed and romantic. Because that's what every movie needs for date night: violence and love, but mostly violence, but does the film offer enough in its concept and cast to become the top choice to watch with your date? Let's find out.
The story centers on Cole Turner (Evans), a farmer and vendor who's also romantically needy. After struggling to hit it off with a woman named Sadie Rhodes (Armas), the two eventually connect, with Cole feeling confident that he found his significant other. That is, until he receives no response from Sadie since they last met, thinking she might be "ghosting" him. Cole then decides to surprise Sadie by traveling to London to look for her. Unfortunately, his trip is suddenly interrupted by a group of arms dealers mistaking him for a CIA operative nicknamed "Taxman". Cole is then saved by Sadie, revealing herself to be the "Taxman". With the criminals, led by disgraced French Intelligence agent Leveque (Brody), on their tail, Cole and Sadie must join forces to protect the passcode for a bio-weapon called "Aztec" from Leveque.
The film's concept is a role reversal of other movies involving future lovers secretly being skilled agents or assassins, including "Knight and Day". However, instead of a woman discovering a man's butt-kicking identity, "Ghosted" switches things up by having a man find that a woman is a secret agent. In other words, the film is a role-reversal version of "Knight and Day" that sees Captain America joining forces with Paloma from "No Time to Die", although this time, it's the latter that does the heavy lifting. Regardless, I couldn't resist not watching it because of the cast and Dexter Fletcher. But, of course, just because a film has plenty of solid talent onboard does not guarantee an automatic winner. Sadly, "Ghosted" proved to be another example of that theory.
What makes it even more unfortunate is that the movie takes a simple and fun spy adventure and throws it into a blender of mediocrity, charmlessness, and derivativeness. It's also a shame since Dexter Fletcher has plenty of great films under his belt. "Eddie the Eagle" was an enjoyable biopic about Michael Edwards, and "Rocketman" was one of my favorite musical biopics due to Fletcher's flashy direction and Taron Egerton's performance as Elton John. So for him to go from two great biopics to an extremely subpar and uneven action rom-com was pretty painful. Although, I was also not surprised by this considering how many great filmmakers we have that made a few fumbles during their careers.
Fletcher attempts to blend several genres into one big entertainment drink: romance, romantic comedy, globe-trotting spy adventure, and action comedy. I enjoyed some of those genres more than others, so this should've been a fun ride for me. Unfortunately, it turned out to be an excruciating endurance test, as the director struggled to provide anything enticing to its tone and even the humor. The film's screenplay also didn't help much either, as it resorts to the basic formula that made specific films like "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" and "Knight and Day" action-packed rides yet fails to capitalize on it. One reason is the chemistry between Cole Turner and Sadie Rhodes. You have two people struggling to make their relationship work due to their secrets and Cole's romantically needy actions, which would've made them a charming and hilariously entertaining pair to watch. However, the mismatched duo is far from those things.
Chris Evans and Ana de Armas did pretty well with their performances, with the former providing an interesting change of pace for his role following his Captain America movies. As for Ana de Armas, the actress continues to showcase her skills in the action genre with suitable results. Despite that, however, the main characters lacked the charisma needed to keep me from ghosting them. The film's boy-meets-girl trope was overshadowed by the characters' banters that are not only devoid of any laughs but also obnoxiously annoying regarding their actions and lack of romantic tension. Maybe they should've left each other alone sooner rather than later. That way, I didn't have to listen to them constantly bickering for the next hour. The rest of the cast was also okay, ranging from Brody as Leveque to Mustafa Shakir as Monte Jackson.
The only minor saving grace of "Ghosted" was its action sequences. They're mildly enjoyable enough to prevent me from abandoning this mission earlier. Sure, they're not as enticing and well-directed as the "John Wick" movies, but they give audiences what they expect from an action spy film: fistfights, car chases, and guns firing across the areas. It checks those things off as it progresses. Unfortunately, some of its sequences were undermined by its choppy editing. I also enjoyed the movie's cameos, including the bounty hunters sent to kill Cole and Sadie. I won't spoil who they are, but I will say that some of them will impress long-time fans of a popular blockbuster franchise.
Overall, "Ghosted" is a charisma-less and intolerable blend of action, comedy, and romance that deserves to be ghosted. When it comes to the former, the movie should satisfy specific viewers with its spy antics. As for everything else, unfortunately, it's a lazy, derivative, and irritatingly dull operation that gradually wastes the talents of its main actors and director, resulting in it being another addition to the low-quality streaming pit. Despite the okay performances from Evans and Armas and its mildly watchable action scenes, the latest original film from Apple TV+ is a mission failure due to its formulaic plot, weak screenplay, imbalanced direction, bland humor, and the unbearable chemistry of the main characters. If you like the actors involved, you might get some enjoyment from them in the movie, but after a while, when they show their characters' true colors, you'll probably want to ghost them as soon as possible.
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