Ana de Armas and Chris Evans Generate Enough Chemistry and get Enough cameo help from their Friends to make this Imperfect Action-rom-com Worthy of not being Completely Ghosted by the Audience.
DIRECTED BY DEXTER FLETCHER/2023
Much has already been said about Apple TV+’s action film Ghosted, with much of that feedback being negative. I certainly agree with most that has been written, but I think one thing that can be said of this film is that the stars certainly make the film a whimsically fun film, in spite of its many flaws, and for that, it may just prove that Ghosted is the perfect imperfect film to simply put on the television and stream if you just want to have an enjoyable romp. For that, director Dexter Fletcher has at least delivered something watchable and fun, especially for the many cameos that pop up for this one.
Cole Turner (Chris Evans) is a man who has been working his father’s farm, selling his wares at a local farmer’s market when he encounters the girl of his dreams who quickly descends in his mind into a woman he loathes, only to find that with some effort they find a spark again. This woman is Sadie Rhodes (Ana de Armas), who is an art curator who has to leave town on business quite a lot. Cole tends to be a bit clingy, so when Sadie leaves town for work, Cole begins over-texting her after a perfect night, only to find that he has been “ghosted”. His family encourages him to maybe see the bright side of things and that maybe she is just out of the country and can’t contact him. At their urging, Cole dusts off the airline tickets he has never used and goes to surprise Sadie in London where he has creepily stalked her to find out where she is at.
Once in London, he is mistaken for “The Taxman”, a notorious spy whose identity is unknown, but whose reputation is feared. Upon his capture and torture for information by Leveque (Adrien Brody), in bursts Sadie to save him. The rest of the film is like a buddy spy adventure with plenty of action set pieces, chases, and constant arguing between the leads which leads up to the final showdown when the fate of the world is on the line.
Dexter Fletcher has had success directing biopic films like Eddie the Eagle, and the Elton John-based Rocketman. Ghosted is a step up for the director in terms of action (though not story telling), and he mostly keeps things together. This is especially true with the comedic timing of how many cameos we get in one chase scene. What is a slog to get through, however, is the dialogue, much of which is simply lazy and manipulative.
Ana de Armas’ opening scene has her in the worst wig seen on film in some time, lamenting losing a co-worker that we later find she didn’t even know, all so that she could make a connection to wanting a plant or flower she should raise in her apartment where she doesn’t need to care for it. This becomes a running joke about cactus that physically manifests itself into the film when Chris Evan’s character shows up with one that becomes a weapon in one action set piece. We later find that Ana’s Sadie has no emotional connection whatsoever to the dead co-worker she mentioned at the onset of the film, rendering the entire opening sequence and the running gag pointless.
In spite of the bad dialogue, the two Knives Out co-stars have enough chemistry and chops to keep things moving forward, and Brody seems to be having fun playing his over-the-top arch villain. Ana de Armas killed it in the last James Bond outing, No Time to Die, and she mostly delivers in the action set pieces here. Chris Evans, Mr. Captain America himself downplays his action bonafides as he humorously becomes the damsel in distress throughout much of the film. Amy Sedaris is funny as Cole’s mom, and all of Chris’ friends popping up is pure entertainment, especially for Marvel fans, and Star Wars’ Rebels. So make sure you look for Anthony Mackie, John Cho, Sebastian Stan, Tim Blake Nelson, Tiya Sircar, and Ryan Reynolds!
So, after all is said and done, you will probably agree with the consensus that this is not a good film. That being said, I think that if you are just looking to be entertained, there is enough here that keeps things moving along to create enough enjoyment for an afternoon escape. So if that is you, then stream away. Some things are simply able to entertain you, and since this film can at least pull that off, it may a reason for it not to be completely Ghosted.
Ghosted is now streaming on Apple TV+.