Friday, May 13, 2011

The Tourist: Waterworld Syndrome Strikes Again

Every now and then comes along a film that tries very hard to overachieve. Budget gets too high, A-list stars are signed, a top director comes aboard. That's what happened with Waterworld. It was supposed to be a low budget, B- movie, produced by Roger Corman, King of the B Film. Then someone got into their head that this film was going to be huge if they just thought bigger. Soon it ballooned into a 200 million dollar beast with sets that sank to the bottom of the Pacific, weather problems, and a feud between Kevin Costner and director Kevin Reynolds that was never fully resolved and who's subsequent careers went with the sunken set pieces. If they had stayed small, it might have worked. It certainly would have been a better film. Thus the Waterworld Syndrome.

Enter the Tourist with exactly the same problem. This was not a big budget, A list star film. Angelina Jolie plays the least convincing covert spy ever with Johnny Depp not far behind as a math teacher, who have as much chemistry together as oil and water. Really, who wouldn't notice Angelina Jolie anywhere. Not a good asset for a spy. Through a series of contrived and pointless encounters, Depp and Jolie are on a non-madcap race against time for a Mcguffin that once materialized is the stupidest ending ever. I won't ruin it here but suffice to say most will groan and the rest will say "wait, what" and a select few will do both. In true Hollywood fashion they fall in love with each other in a day when most people would still be trying to figure out why the hell someone as hot as Jolie was even talking to you.

The movie is basically a vignette of beautiful location shots. One scene has Depp on a Venetian balcony with the Bridge of Sighs in the distance. It's breathtaking. Everything else, not so much.

The worst part was I was thinking that this film should have been a)a comedy, b)starring B or even C list actors, c) directed by some one else. Apparently I wasn't the only one. Tom Cruise was set to star in this, then Sam Worthington, who left over "creative differences," to finally Johnny Depp. Jolie was supposed to be Charlize Theron and the director changed several times, even the current one who quit and came back. No one wanted to make this film. Shocker. It was all still too big. Cut the budget to 30-40 million, hire Kevin James and Kristen Wiig to star and make it funny. Trust me, it would have been far better than this dull mess.

one star out of 5

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