I don’t claim to know them in any way, shape or form though, truth be told, I wouldn’t mind if I did. Nonetheless, from what I’ve seen of Chris Evans (“Avengers: Endgame”) and Ana de Armas (“No Time To Die”) from tabloid news (which admittedly is a terrible source to base an opinion upon) they both appear to be charismatic and good-natured people to be around. You wouldn’t, however, come to that conclusion from watching the cheerless film Ghosted, in which both star and pretend to share unrivaled sexual chemistry.
The Dexter Fletcher (“Eddie the Eagle”) directed film starts as many meet-cute romantic comedies do with the leads mistakenly bumping into each, sharing some pointed banter and then spending the night together. In this particular case, Cole (Evans), an unlucky-in-love farmer, flirts with Sadie (de Armas), an art dealer, while selling her a house plant at a farmer’s market. Within 11 seconds their, at first flirty but eventual antagonistic, back and forth becomes forced and uncomfortable to watch. Unfortunately, this ugly repartee is just the tip of the ugliness iceberg . . .
After spending the night together having what seems, from the terribly shot love-scenes, thoroughly unremarkable sex, Sadie ghosts Cole due to his incessant texts begging for another bite of the cherry (I’m not convinced it wasn’t because of the lame sex). Not taking the very obvious hint that even his sister Mattie (Lizze Broadway, “The Inhabitant”) makes abundantly clear to him, Cole inexplicably decides to fly to London to surprise Sadie instead of just licking his wounds and moving onto the next girl to smother. This terrible decision explodes further in Cole’s face when he is mistaken to be the “Taxman,” a formidable secret agent with the codes to unlock some super-duper weapon of mass destruction. Naturally, he is quickly snatched up by the evil forces of Leveque (Adrien Brody, “InAPPropriate Comedy”), a criminal arms dealer, who has the neutered weapon in hand and needs said codes to make the weapon whole and close the sale. In a twist everyone (including the blind) should see coming from at least a light-year away, arriving to save Cole from certain torture and death is Sadie who is revealed to be the real formidable secret agent and not — gasp — an art dealer.
This revelation leads to a whole lot more cringe-worthy dialogue between themselves and a host of additional cohorts like field agent Marco (Marwan Kenzari, “Aladdin”) who has enjoyed a tryst or two with Sadie, and hard-nosed CIA director Monte Jackson (Mustafa Shakir, “Hide and Seek”). It also leads to a few ill-conceived and obvious green-screened set-pieces. One in which Sadie pilots an jewel-adorned school bus down a narrow cliff-side dirt passage in reverse with trucks armed with mounted machine guns firing upon her is bewilderingly bad. Another, which has Cole and Sadie facing off with Leveque and his henchmen in a rotating restaurant high in the sky is doubly bad. And never, through any of the action — or anywhere else for that matter — does the chemistry between leads get any more non-robotic. In fact, the chemistry Evans and de Armas shared in “Knives Out” was multitudes sexier even though they shared little screen time together and were genuine antagonists to one another!
Ghosted ultimately is one of those films pieced together with a paint by number formula, banking on the name recognition and attractiveness of Evans and de Armas to hide its many flaws. Sadly, the laziness and cheapness exuding from the screen consumes all, making one wonder if the movie had been written by an angry AI program rather than a quartet of actual people who have screen-written decent comedy and action films before. And with the writer’s strike now underway, one has to wonder how much worse the next slate of upcoming films is going to be, though to be perfectly honest, it can’t be much worse than this unromantic, unfunny romantic comedy. Scarlett Johansson, you were smart to pass on this and, on an unrelated topic, sue Disney for breach of contract.