Ghosted (2023) Review!!

Synopsis – Cole falls head over heels for enigmatic Sadie, but then makes the shocking discovery that she’s a secret agent. Before they can decide on a second date, Cole and Sadie are swept away on an international adventure to save the world.

My Take – Originally pitched by ‘Deadpool’ franchise screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese as a vehicle which would reunite MCU stars Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson, but instead pairs up Evans with his Knives Out (2019) and The Gray Man (2022) co-star Ana de Armas, after Johansson dropped out due to scheduling conflicts, this latest action comedy aims to put a new spin on the whole cute girl meets mysteriously charming guy situation.

More like a reverse True Lies (1994) and Knight and Day (2010) scenario.

While the resulting film is nothing ground breaking, it sure makes for a fun couple of hours. Co-written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers (the guys behind the Tom Holand led Spider-Man trilogy) and directed by Dexter Fletcher (Rocketman, Eddie the Eagle), the film delivers a spirited if familiar action-based romantic comedy, where there is enough action to please the blockbuster crowd, and enough sparring banter to work for all audiences, with the romance stuff never feeling too sappy.

Sure, it packs in a lot for its run time, some of which work and some fall short, yet it never fails to keep things moving at a breakneck pace. With a couple of clever cameos thrown in, the Apple TV+ flick in the end delivers on its promise of unpretentious entertainment.

The story follows Cole Turner (Chris Evans), a farmer who has been living at his parent’s guest house after returning home years ago, to help work their farm, when his dad suffered an injury. While working at a farmer’s market selling their crops, Cole ends up meeting Sadie (Ana de Armas), with whom he becomes infatuated after they spend an entire day and night together.

Believing that she is the one, considering he is just coming off a breakup, Cole is understandably wounded when she doesn’t respond to his texts. So with encouragement from his parents (Amy Sedaris and Tate Donovan), and ignoring warnings from his sister (Lizzie Broadway) that he has a habit of coming on way too strong, Cole impulsively tracks a left-behind item of his to her location in London.

However, once he reaches her supposed spot, he is quickly abducted by a group of criminals who believe Cole is the deadly CIA agent called the Taxman. And just as he is about to be tortured, Sadie shows up to rescue him, revealing herself to be the famous secret agent. Hereby pulling Cole into a complicated world of car chases, shootouts, and a mission to reclaim a biochemical weapon called Aztec from Leveque (Adrien Brody), a disgraced French Intelligence agent, who believes the Taxman has pass code to arm the weapon of mass destruction.

The film is nothing but a silly and fun time that transports you back to the surge of romantic comedies that were plentiful from the early 2000s, with lots of spy action mixed in. The film is essentially a gender role reversal of other spy films in that the woman is now the hero, and the man is the supposed damsel in distress. It boasts all the country-hopping, vehicle chase sequences, and double-crossing we’d expect from any James Bond or Jason Bourne film, though it’s toned down a few notches. The focus is always on Sadie and Cole feeding the flames of newfound love.

Sure, there isn’t a lot to the film, apart from watching some charismatic actors’ run around hilariously, while playing fetch-the-McGuffin across a thin and implausible story line.

Yet, the film exhibits a sense of playfulness throughout, with Evans appearing to relish the opportunity to portray an everyman thrust into all these heroic hijinks. Also Leveque is never truly menacing as a villain, he’s made bad deals and is trying to scrounge together some sort of capital so he can deliver the Aztec canister.

After scoring big hits in the musical bio genre, director Dexter Fletcher deftly juggles the rom-com beats and the big action set-pieces. He eases into the changes in tone to insure viewers won’t feel a whiplash in going from the comedy to the explosive thrills. Even though the film pushes the line of PG-13 films with some of the deaths shown on screen.

Nevertheless, the film is mostly dependent on the comedic moments generated by its very good-looking leads, Chris Evans and Ana de Armas. While the action sequences are solid, their chemistry and romance leave something to be desired. The pair aren’t awful together, but they never really seem to develop that infectious connection that makes rom-coms fun to watch.

Yes, it takes a few minutes to get over the initial awkwardness of seeing Chris Evans outside of his usual superhero attire, but he commits to the clingy farm boyfriend afraid to even leave the country. The film offers a reminder that Evans possesses a considerable appeal irrespective of the role he is cast in.

Ana de Armas makes for a natural action star, as previously seen in No Time to Die (2021), and increases the hype for her lead role in upcoming John Wick spinoff, Ballerina (2024). However, she does struggle in the comedy scenes. As always, Adrien Brody chews the scenery as the mustache-twirling Leveque. More of a middleman than a primary villain, Brody plays Leveque as a one-track baddie who will stop at nothing to get paid.

In other roles, Mike Moh, Amy Sedaris, Tate Donovan, Lizze Broadway, Mustafa Shakir, Tiya Sircar, and Anna Deavere Smith are effective. The film also greatly benefits from its delightful cameos which sees the likes of Anthony Mackie, John Cho, Sebastian Stan, Tim Blake Nelson, Marwan Kenzari and Ryan Reynolds come and go hilariously. On the whole, ‘Ghosted’ is a decent fun yet predictable romantic action comedy that deserves a watch for its cast.

Directed –

Starring – Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Adrien Brody

Rated – PG13

Run Time – 116 minutes

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