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Review: Ghosted (2023)

Ghosted (2023)

Directed by: Dexter Fletcher

Premise: A recently single man (Chris Evans) falls in love with a mysterious woman (Ana de Armas) who is new to his rural town. He travels to Europe to surprise her on a work trip only to discover she is a CIA agent.

What Works: The action sequences of Ghosted are competently done and there’s a couple of notable scenes, especially a chase involving a tour bus driving backward down a steep hillside and the final action sequence set in a revolving restaurant. The climactic shootout takes place against an increasingly kinetic background that livens up the otherwise dull proceedings.

What Doesn’t: The film critic Lon Harris has observed a recent genre of action movies he describes as a “Red Notice,” named for the 2021 movie starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot. These movies are action pictures involving spies and assassins who travel the world in pursuit of a MacGuffin and constantly speak in quips. That description applies to lots of movies but “Red Notice” films are distinguished by their emptiness and insincerity. These pictures occupy a limbo between parody and straightforward drama but don’t work as either. They’re self-aware and the filmmakers refuse to commit to the conceit, resulting in comedy that isn’t funny, action that isn’t exciting, and characters who are unbelievable. Ghosted is exactly this kind of film. It’s fundamentally a love story with an earnest guy falling for a female spy and the two of them go on a wacky adventure. The relationship between the leads is never convincing. Chris Evans and Ana de Armas have no romantic chemistry. That’s obvious from the meet-cute which is forced and painfully awkward. The couple pursue a doomsday weapon that’s locked up in a briefcase. The MacGuffin is not interesting. Supposedly the fate of the world hangs in the balance but there is no tension or sense of stakes. The filmmakers mash together different tones in a way that feels erratic and desperate. Parts of Ghosted are violent and others attempt comedy, especially a scene halfway through that is a parade of cameos by recognizable actors. The filmmakers grasp for humor and thrills but they never commit to anything and the entire picture is halfhearted and random. That’s especially evident in Ghosted’s inexplicable music selections. The filmmakers periodically drop in pop songs that have no bearing on the action or the characters. It’s all part of the haphazard nature of this kind of filmmaking that is detached and ironic in a way that comes across lazy. 

Disc extras: On AppleTV.

Bottom Line: Ghosted is an empty shell of a movie. It wastes a talented cast of actors in a pantomime of an espionage adventure. At no point does it offer thrills or comedy. It’s not even really trying.

Episode: #949 (May 21, 2023)