While I know that in the past I have made much feminist hay over women doing womeny things in women movies, it turns out that I don't particularly like it when women do manly things either. To wit: In Knight and Day—a flashy, silly, formulaic spy thriller starring Tom "I Swear That I Am Not a Gay Pygmy Shark" Cruise—Cameron Diaz's big face plays a lady with a big face who restores classic cars for a living. Now, I'm sure in the actual universe there are plenty of ladies with faces of all shapes and sizes who lug around knapsacks full of carburetors and deliver lines like "the drivey crank is blocking the wheely parts!" with extremely convincing aplomb. (Clearly, I am not one of those ladies.) But if Cameron Diaz is a capable auto mechanic, THEN I AM A BABY OTTER. And believe me, I am not. I have looked into it. The surgery is decades away.
Films that require suspension of disbelief of this magnitude—such as, to indulge in that ancient overindulged-in example, believing Denise Richards as a smart person (haw haw!)—just feel SO condescending. They smack of tokenism and overcompensation, and they bait people into saying exactly the kind of misogynistic crap that I'm saying right now. Can't Cameron Diaz just be, like, a lawyer with a big face? Or a greengrocer with a big face? Or an underpants model with a big face? Does it have to be an auto mechanic—a role for which she is so awkwardly, preternaturally unsuited? The implication winds up being: "Look at the woman pretending to do real things! Cute! It thinks it's people!"
Anyway. Knight and Day is fun enough—something like a toothless Bourne Identity, in which a federal superagent (Cruise) is pursued through the streets of fancy olde Europe for a crime he only sort of committed. Some sort of magic battery is involved, and the FBI is not to be trusted! Diaz plays some lady he picks up along the way who screams a lot. Paul Dano plays a nerd. The dialogue is sometimes funny and sometimes so terrible that you want to punch the screen to death. And the ending is wiiiiide open—practically tattooing into your flesh a reminder to check back in 2011 for Knight and Day 2: Knight at the Museum and then in 2012 for Knight and Day 3: Plagued by the Knight Terrors! and in 2013 for the hotly anticipated Knight and Day 4: Citizens on Patrol. (I ran out of puns, so that last one is a Police Academy reference. You're welcome.)
Above all, watching Knight and Day is a journey of self-discovery. Apparently, as it turns out, I LIKE TOM CRUISE. Ever since he emerged from his wet little pupa stage as a vacant, grinning, 24/7 Scientology commercial, I had completely forgotten this fact: Tom Cruise is a famous movie star because he is very charming and handsome. Who knew? And I don't care how much imaginary alien corpse dust he thinks is clinging to his hair and clogging up his emotions with space evil or whatever. Okay, I kind of care. That shit is ridiculous. But not as ridiculous as Cameron Diaz fixing my goddamn car. Yeesh.