Too-Weak Vacation

The Tourist takes a trip, falls

As thrilling as a slow-speed boat ride and as death-defying as a jump from a first-floor balcony, The Tourist needs you to find Angelina Jolie the most sex-tastic collection of pronounced collar bone and countable vertebrae in order to hold your attention. For those who don’t think exposed wrist sinew and “size: skeleton” dresses are the height of attraction, here’s hoping you like a bored-looking Johnny Depp wearing patchy, pubic facial hair. No? Then move along, people, there’s nothing to see here.

Screenwriters Christopher McQuarrie and Julian Fellowes, along with writer/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, confuse cleverness for smug simplicity from the first grating seconds of The Tourist. Elise Clifton-Ward (Jolie) is in Paris waiting for a letter from estranged lover and international fugitive Alexander Pierce, who is on the lam for stealing $2 billion from a British gangster (Steven Berkoff), who surrounds himself with Russian cronies because the writers thought that would be funny. Despite living in an age where nearly every object in the world takes pictures, nobody but Elise knows what Alexander looks like; thus, Elise is given a letter that tells her to board a train bound for Italy and to convince the agents following her that some random stranger is Alexander.

The random stranger is Frank Tupelo (Depp), a raging idiot. Socially unskilled and mostly repulsive, Frank finds himself chased by mobsters and the determined inspector John Acheson, who is played by Paul Bettany. Bettany has the most authentic performance in the film, in that he seems really pissed to be in it. What follows is a series of chase sequences boring enough to swap for sheep counting, culminating in one of the most dishonest, unearned “twist” endings in recent memory.

With Depp phoning it in and Jolie giving another consistently wooden, wretchedly haughty performance, the short running time becomes a test of endurance. Considering that von Donnersmarck, McQuarrie and Fellowes are each Oscar winners for different films, this is proof that combining good things doesn’t necessarily produce another good thing; yeah, The Tourist is like bratwurst cheesecake.

The Tourist should have been a throwback, a free-spirited romp invoking the heyday of Carey Grant or Audrey Hepburn. But when your Grant stand-in would rather be sleeping one off and your Hepburn substitute is a glorified lip gloss model, you’re left thinking “Well, at least Venice is pretty.” The Tourist isn’t the year’s worst film, but it may be the best Ambien substitute.

Grade: D

posted at 12:10 am
on Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

COMMENTS

(We're testing Disqus commenting (finally!); please let us know if you have trouble.)

comments powered by Disqus

 

« Previous Page


Fashion Backward

The First Monday in May is a feature length-commercial for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s world-famous annual fashion exhibition that quickly turns into a shockingly oblivious confirmation that...

more »


Yas, Queens!

Oh dear God should The Huntsman: Winter’s War not work. Like, it should cause uncontrollable vomiting and permanent erectile dysfunction. So, sweet Jeebus, do I have my work cut out for me here....

more »


Beasts of Burden

The Jungle Book is director Jon Favreau’s “live-action”—if you count an entirely CGI environment with almost entirely CGI characters to be “live-action”—update of the classic Disney tale. A young...

more »


That Boy Ain’t Right

Theoretically, dumping chocolate syrup on top of M&Ms on top of Oreos on top of cookie dough on top of fudge technically tastes “good.” You just don’t get an actual dessert if you do that. What you...

more »


Awake My Soul

Nostalgia, like love, erodes rough edges; it fills in gaps, paints clean what was scuffed, and forgives copious small sins in the name of happiness. I’m sorry, but none of the Star Wars movies have...

more »







Advanced Search