The Tourist

The world is full of beautiful things. Lest we forget Angelina Jolie is one of them, Columbia Pictures proudly offers you The Tourist. For the better part of two hours, Jolie sashays her way first through Paris and then Venice, with perfect make-up and all while decked out in the latest fashions. And, oh yes, Johnny Depp is along for the ride, too.

Unfortunately, though, beautiful things aren’t always terribly entertaining.

For those expecting a high-adrenaline, non-stop action flick with shoot-outs and explosions galore, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The same goes for those of you expecting comedy, romance, or any semblance of an coherent plot.

The Tourist is, on paper, all about mistaken identity. Jolie plays a Elise Clifton-Ward, a British woman-of-intrigue who the police are trailing through the streets of Paris; they hope she’ll lead them to her lover, a man who stole hundreds of millions of dollars from an international gangster. To help throw police off the trail, she stumbles on schlubby American math teacher Frank Tupelo (Depp) on a train and pretends that he’s the thief. (The police have never gotten a good photo of the guy in question).

Of course, Tupelo is more-than-happy to go along with it (it’s not every day Angelina Jolie sits next to you on a train, strikes up a conversation, and then invites you to check into the exclusive Hotel Danieli with her), but what could have been a funny fish-out-of-water story, never gets out of first gear.

The Tourist does have it’s moments—Tupelo has a goofy way of speaking Spanish to everyone he meets in Italy—but by and large, it’s an exercise in what could have (and should have) been, especially given the talents of everyone involved.

We all know that Jolie and Depp are among the finest actors in the business today, but the problems go much deeper than that. Just four years ago, Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck won just about every award he could (including the Best Foreign Film Oscar) for The Lives of Others. Screenwriters Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park) are also well-deserving Oscar winners, along with cinematographer John Seale and costume designer Colleen Atwood.

Unfortunately, they all had a bad day at exactly the same time.

For a movie about international intrigue, with bad guys around every corner, The Tourist is remarkably flat. Not only does Jolie never break a sweat, you’ll be hard pressed to notice a time when any of her dresses gets even a wrinkle. Depp, who can light up the screen with only a smile, never even looks like he has a pulse. And even the “surprise” ending really isn’t.

If you’ve ever wanted to just sit and gawk and Angelina Jolie (or Venice) for 100 minutes, feel free. Otherwise, The Tourist is little more than a not-so-beautiful mess.

2.5/5 stars