I always thought Cameron’s wig out in the driver’s seat was the best thing — the only tolerable thing — about Vanilla Sky, and the 2001 film even may have worked if the main focus had shifted from Tom and Penelope Cruz to Tom and Cameron. (I know it was a remake, which left little room for adjustments, but isn’t Hollywood all about taking creative liberties?)
Well, on July 2 (just in time for Independence Day), they’ll once again have a chance to prove their chemistry with the comedy Knight And Day. The trailer confounds me. (Nice use of Muse’s “Uprising, though. Wonder if it will do for that song what Pineapple Express did for M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” in 2008.) Tom seems to be playing some sort of bad guy — a killer with a sense of humor? a loveable hit man? — and Cameron appears to be channeling yet another variation of adorably sexy. I don’t really understand what’s going on, but there are some amusing bits. And it’s nice to see Tom once again tackling comedy, the genre that suits him best (see Jerry Maguire) but one that he’s dabbled in far too infrequently since Risky Business.
Both stars have slid way down the box-office food chain, but this looks like it could be a step in the right direction: up. Having Walk The Line director James Mangold and costars like Peter Sarsgaard and Viola Davis in your corner doesn’t hurt. Tom, who is sharing above-the-title billing (with Cameron) for only the third time since 1992’s A Few Good Men, seems to be sending up his recent rep as an an unhinged ADD-afflicted freak show (much like he did in 2008’s Tropic Thunder), and this may actually be the direction he needs to go in permanently. He’s never consistently sold himself as a romantic lead, and his real-life antics make him too much of a punchline to effectively play action hero anymore.
We’ll see the outcome this summer. I for one, am as curious to see if Tom and Cameron can pull off dual career resuscitation as I am to find out why Tom is gunning down everyone in sight.