McCoy on Movies: "The Tourist" Movie Review PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tabari McCoy   
Monday, 13 December 2010 07:00

McCoy on Movies: "The Tourist" Movie Review
Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie are back in theaters this week as star-crossed travelers in "The Tourist." Our critic let's you know if their journey is a first class ticket or a ride in coach.



"You know, movies like this make me eager to get back to being Capt. Jack Sparrow again ..." Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp) ponders his newfound trouble in a scene from Columbia Pictures' latest release "The Tourist."
Credit: Peter Mountain © 2010 Columbia Pictures Inc. All rights reserved


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff, Rufus Sewell and Christian De Sica


WRITER: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Christopher McQuarrie and Julian Fellowes


DIRECTOR: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck




THE PLOT: An American take on the 2005 French film "Anthony Zimmer," "The Tourist" stars Johnny Depp as Frank Tupelo, a widowed Wisconsin math teacher on vacation in Italy. Frank finds his life turned upside down following an impromptu encounter with an enchanting woman named Elise (Angelina Jolie). While Frank thinks Elise is enthralled with him, he doesn't know her true motive: to set him up so that people believe he is a man named Alexander Pierce, wanted by Scotland Yard (led by Paul Bettany) for tax evasion to the tune of $744 million and by Reginald Shaw (Steven Berkoff), the ruthless criminal from whom he stole $2.3 billion.


So why, then, is Frank ready to risk life and limb as opposed to flying home to America and getting out of this mess? You'll have to watch to find out!


THE TAKE: There's really not much to say about "The Tourist," really. It's not that bright story-wise, though it has its moments. Jolie and Depp do the best they can with what they are given to work with, which as you may have guessed from the previous sentence, isn't much. And the "action," if you will, is a bit lackluster when it occurs.


In short, "The Tourist" (pardon the pun) is pretty pedestrian as a whole — especially since it's a romantic film masquerading as something else.


I have never seen "Anthony Zimmer," but I have seen "The Tourist." And if the original is anything like this, I'll pass. Sure, it's not a terrible movie, but it is incredibly cheesy. It's almost as if someone decided that if we put two really pretty people in an equally picturesque setting, as long as the plot is somewhat salvageable, no one will notice the lackluster story at the heart of it all.


To put it in other terms, nothing about the film feels organic. Instead, it's synthetic — right down to the scene where the bad guy has to prove just how bad he is at the expense of a poor, unfortunate underling. That wouldn't be so bad if romance/seduction wasn't thrown at you at every turn (these characters are HOT, get it?!) and there was a true sense of intrigue to either character's plight. Throw in some plot/logic holes with a well-measured pinch of corny and you've got "The Tourist."


A friend of mine said it best after the movie: Jolie was like a living piece of art in the film, just on hand to look good. When that is the thing people notice about your contribution to a film that you are co-headlining, it's a sign that, in the words of the late Leslie Nielsen's beloved "Naked Gun" officer Frank Drebin that there truly is "Nothing to see here."


PARTING SHOT If you are thinking of making travel plans to the theater this weekend, consider taking another trip. "The Tourist" is nothing to write home about, even for the most dedicated Jolie and Depp fan.











Peter Mountain © 2010 Columbia Pictures Inc. All rights reserved

Tabari McCoy -

Tabari McCoy is Cincy Chic's movie critic. You can check out more of his work on his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @tabarimccoy


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