Ghosted: the review of the spy film directed by Dexter Fletcher (on Apple TV+)

Hey ChatGPT. Write a screenplay about a single farmer who asks a woman out on a date. They spend a day falling in love with each other, then they sleep together. But then he sends her a series of ‘needy’ and not very nice text messages. When she doesn’t respond, he tracks her down and discovers she is a superspy.

He then becomes involved in his mission to recover a deadly virus from the hands of international baddies. Give the virus an exotic name, maybe Aztec? Eventually – coincidentally – they fall in love with her, despite him smothering her. He also helps her secure the virus by using her high school fighting skills.

Be sure to include plenty of gunfights and jokes along the way. Set the climax scene in a revolving restaurant that spirals out of control, like an amusement park’s Gravitron. But please, only use the word “fuck” once, because we want it to be a movie ‘for everyone’.

Ghosted it’s the kind of empty Hollywood product that makes you wonder if screenwriters are already using AI to write their scripts.

The one just finished exclusively in the catalog of Apple TV+ it is such a predictable and banal work that the only reasonable explanation for its result is that a computer has tried to approximate human vocal patterns and failed miserably.

The film sets you on a collision course Ana de Armas and Chris Evans again, later Knives Out of 2019 and The Gray Man of 2022 (the review) – an easily winning duo. But the on-screen chemistry takes more than two very attractive leads to workand the writing quartet didn’t give their stars anything interesting to do or say.

Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, former authors of Welcome to Zombieland (2009) and Deadpool (2013), receive the merits of the scripts along with Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers. The result looks like a mix of True Lies (1994) And Innocent lies (2010), but with gender roles reversed. The concept itself is not necessarily negative, but the realization seems spiritless and – above all – ‘pretend’.

Cole Riggan (Evans) works on the family farm and runs an organic vegetable stand. His family, including his teenage sister (Lizzes Broadway) and understanding parents (Amy Sedaris), knows Cole has a history of smothering girlfriends with excessive attention until they leave. So after meeting and spending a day with a supposed art curator, Sadie (de Armas), and after she goes missing, everyone thinks it has happened again.

But then he decides to track her down, using a tracking device on her inhaler, which she left in her purse. He arrives in London for what he hopes is a romantic gesture, but instead finds himself captured by some bad guys, led by Tim Blake Nelson. This villains from the Eastern accent he thinks Cole is a mysterious contact known as ‘The Taxman’ and has a nest full of CGI bugs that he intends to use on Cole to extract information from him. Just before attaching a Murderous Hornet to Cole’s face, Sadie appears, armed to the teeth, to save him.

From here, it’s a race across the globe to recover a biological weapon from a nefarious arms dealer, Leveque, played by Adrien Brody (a character bordering on parody). Along the way, Cole and Sadie bicker about their potential romance, Cole’s pedantic behavior, and Sadie’s aversion to serious commitments. This is all done through a banal plant metaphor involving a cactus. The other characters watching them together keep talking about “sexual tension,” but we don’t see it.

Not even the attractiveness of the two stars manages to overshadow the lack of a spark between them. Sure, Chris Evans’ perfectly coiffed hair remains intact despite a series of shootings and explosions. Ana de Armas’ makeup never looks less than perfect, even if the wig was a bad choice. But their characters are hollow and their dialogue includes a lot of repetitive exclamations: “You’re amazing!” or “It’s amazing!”.

Dexter Fletcher (Rocketman) is in the control room for Ghosted but, instead of the actual fun, you choose to fall back on a soundtrack that includes songs like “My Sharona” by The Knack to “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet.

The action sequences of Ghosted are characterized by a distracting amount of cheesy-looking computer animation, who manages to make the work of cinematographer Salvatore Totino disfigured by digital tricks. To be a film ‘for everyone’, there is a surprising amount of on-screen deathsespecially with gunshots to the head.

However, at least one sequence with a death sequel turns out to be funny, mostly because of some MCU reunion cameosthat does not we will spoil. Chris Evans enjoys a few funny moments early on as he tries to avoid gunfire by dragging his carry-on bag. But, otherwise, this romantic action-comedy’s ‘energy meter’ stops at 1, offering contrived moments like a two-person polygraph in which characters’ feelings are awkwardly revealed to a roomful of CIA operatives. Furthermore, once things kick in, there’s no more talk of Cole’s inhaler.

Those who usually hang out on streaming platforms will know that action comedies with a romantic touch are a very popular genre. Still, most of them are really awful. Red Notice Netflix’s 2021 film (review) was a staggering $200 million wasted, and less is said about Netflix’s two films Murder Mystery (2019, 2023), the better.

Although Ghosted was made with a much lower cost – it is estimated on 40 million dollars – the fact that they spent less money than their colleagues is only a slight relief. Worse still, the movie waste two nice stars.

Among other things, Ghosted could have definitively consecrated Ana de Armas as an action heroine, after the interesting tests in No time to day (2021) and in the cited The Gray Manthe. Sadly, the result reminds us that for films to work, they need more than a proven Hollywood model and a couple of big stars to spend on advertising.

Find below the international trailer by Ghosted, on Apple TV+ since April 21st:

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