As long as there have been genres in filmmaking there has been a blending of them. Combining elements of humor, romance, or horror to your action flick is an easy way to keep things feeling fresh. This strategy often proves successful, with a prime example being romantic comedies which have likely overtaken the straight-up romance in popularity in the modern era. Too much ambition with the meshing of tones can just as easily serve as a detriment, resulting in a glaring tonal mishmash that appears to have no idea what it’s going for. Renfield, a recently released Nicholas Cage movie, is a classic example of this failure. It at different times attempts to operate in the realm of horror, action, comedy, and romance, in the end failing on all fronts. Fortunately, Ghosted exists on the other end of this spectrum of success, as it perfectly combines action, comedy, and romance with an incredibly fun result.
Directed by Dexter Fletcher, Ghosted centers around Cole Turner (Chris Evans), a lovelorn farmer who experiences a chance encounter with Sadie Rhodes (Ana de Armas), an art agent wandering the local farmer’s market during her worldwide travels. After a wonderful date Cole decides to take a chance and attempt to meet up with Sadie again in Europe. Upon their reunion Cole quickly discovers that she wasn’t being completely honest about her line of work, as Sadie is in fact a spy for the CIA.
first 20 minutes of the film are legitimately a pleasant romantic comedy. If the film simply continued to follow that path, it would have been successful. The story then dials things up a notch and transforms into a joyous action comedy with highly effective situational humor, as well as exciting set pieces. The tone shifts (but not in a jarring manner), while being able to maintain hints of the original romance vibes sprinkled throughout.
While the story serves as the guiding light here, the acting is what further propels it above that of a typical genre mashup. Chris Evans kills it as an average everyman. His character is a far cry from his years spent as Captain America, continuing Evans’ ongoing subversion of his previous onscreen persona with ever-growing range. It is without a doubt his funniest performance to date, with an impressive display of comedic timing as well as physical humor. Ana de Armas is good here too, continuing her bid for the top action star of her generation. She is quite believable in her scenes and exhibits great chemistry with Evans, playing off each other marvelously. While these two are the focal point of the story, the entire cast is up to the task of delivering fun portrayals of colorful characters. The most glaring weak link though is Adrien Brody who does his best as the antagonist but is ultimately let down by a thinly layered character.
The movie acts as a roller coaster ride, with twists and turns that are sure to invoke a cheer, or two. The script is clever in how it manages to establish the premise and continue to create entertaining situations that don’t feel forced. As with most comedies, not every joke lands and there’s a gag that goes on too long, but that’s par for the course in these types of movies. Additionally, a great soundtrack coincides perfectly with the plot to further elevate the fun.
Overall, Ghosted is a sublime combination of action and comedy, with dashes of romance. A strong screenplay keeps the audience on its toes throughout this riveting adventure that again and again finds inventive ways to create both thrills and laughs. The entire ensemble is a joy to watch, but Evans in particular steals the show. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to anyone in search of a fun time.