Films that seek to merge action, comedy, and romance invariably seem to lean more in one direction than the others. Maybe it’s mostly trying to be funny? Perhaps it just wants to be an action flick? Hell, it could also take the romance most seriously. Whether it feels like a romantic comedy with guns or not, you rarely see a genre hybrid that fully works. In the case of Ghosted, all three elements fall just a bit flat. None are completely unsuccessful, but it’s clearly a project chiefly meant to highlight charismatic and attractive leads. It succeeds there, at least, so there’s that.
Ghosted wants you to fall in love with the characters and also be delighted by the chaos onscreen. It wants you to, at least, though the movie never really invests enough in actually getting you to feel that way. So much of this just feels tossed off, knowing it’ll be consumed on Apple TV+ by couples or as a date night option. It certainly isn’t the worst option, but it’s so generic it hardly can be anyone’s best option.
Sadie (Ana de Armas) and Cole (Chris Evans) are two opposites who attract at a farmer’s marker, meet cute and all. She’s shopping while home from her globe-hopping job. He’s working there in the aftermath of a breakup. When they wind up on an impromptu all-night date, Cole is very excited. His parents (Tate Donovan and Amy Sedaris) are excited for him, but warn him to play it cool. Of course, he can’t, and worried that he’s being ghosted, opts to surprise Sadie by following her (don’t ask about the how and why, as it’s very dumb) to Europe.
No sooner does Cole arrive in Europe then he gets kidnapped and tortured, only rescued by Sadie at the last moment, revealing herself to be a CIA operative. Thus begins an adventure that consists of them arguing over who lied about what, other people remarking about their chemistry/sexual tension, and a generic terrorist plot by Leveque (Adrien Brody) to gain possession of a weapon. Mostly, you’re there to watch the couple eventually get together, with the world just happening to be hanging in the balance.
Ana de Armas and Chris Evans do not lack for charm or even light chemistry, but they’ve been so much better elsewhere. They’re each just playing lesser versions of what they’ve done before, with de Armas faring a bit better. She’s more at home and attempting to elevate the weak material. Evans never feels like an everyman and just lets the material stand on its own, for better and mostly worse. Their bickering is amusing, but also gets repetitive. Tate Donovan and Amy Sedaris don’t really have much to do, while Adrien Brody is a fairly weak villain, even with the occasional smart remark. Supporting players include Lizze Broadway, John Cho, Burn Gorman, Anna Deavere Smith, Marwan Kenzari, Anthony Mackie, Mike Moh, Tim Blake Nelson, Mustafa Shakir, Sebastian Stan, and more.
Director Dexter Fletcher brings very little personality to this film. While the script by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick (both of whom have story by credits as well), Chris McKenna, and Erik Sommers is all over the place, it’s trying to have some originality. The dialogue is largely poor, but here and there, some of the more comedic set pieces work. Fletcher, on the other hands, has it all end up feeling even more run of the mill. Even the successful elements are run into the ground, blunting their effectiveness.
Ghosted has moments that suggest a great action rom-com. They’re few and far between, unfortunately, as the film is just content to be passable. In only shooting for that mid-tier, it ends up falling short. I wouldn’t call this a bad movie, but it’s so forgettable you’ll be hard pressed to remember much about it as soon as the credits roll.