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The Tourist

A Trip Best Not Taken

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars.

Trailers for The Tourist lead you to believe the film is a psychological thriller or a sultry espionage film starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. The film delivers on the latter. Depp and Jolie are gorgeous and always easy on the eyes, but if youíre looking for a quality psychological thriller or a sultry espionage flick, this is not the trip for you.

The film opens with the smoldering Jolie being staked out at a cafť in Paris. It seems Elise Ward (Angelina Jolie) is romantically entangled with one Alexander Pierce, who embezzled a large chunk of change. Pierce has seemingly disappeared, and despite Scotland Yardís best efforts, he is still at large. Elise is the only connection the authorities have to Pierce.

Ward is instructed by Pierce to cozy up to a patsy who vaguely resembles Pierce in an effort to throw the authorities off track. Enter Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp), a naÔve tourist from Wisconsin checking out the sights. Tupelo is easily charmed by Ward and finds himself in hot water quickly.

Depp does a reasonable job playing the fish out of water in Frank Tupelo. He ardently does his best to play a clueless shmuck, but he is still too innately handsome and suave for anyone to really believe heís that bumbling and awkward. Jack Black actually seems like a better fit for Tupelo, but getting an audience to buy the idea of Jack Black and Angelina Jolie canoodling would never happen.

Jolie does little more than swing her hips and sport a British accent. Sheís drop-dead gorgeous, but thereís seemingly little more to Elise Ward than this. Itís never made clear exactly what Elise does aside from respond to cryptic notes Alexander Pierce delivers to her periodically.

Depp and Jolie do the best they can, but itís clear their performances were largely limited by mediocre writing and directing. The Tourist simply canít decide what it wants to be. While in theory Depp and Jolie are in great peril, there is far too much levity in the action scenes for anyone to genuinely believe anything terrible is going to happen.

Yet the film isnít clever enough or light enough to be a quality screwball comedy. The laughs are feeble and far too infrequent. Additionally, there are more than a few truly dark moments that disrupt the tone of the film. This inconsistency in tone is much of what derails the film.

The Tourist certainly had the potential to be a solidly entertaining thriller or a screwball comedy. But, the failure to commit to one tone or the other largely kills the film. The sheer star power of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, simply isnít enough to make up for the glut of shortcomings.