Having never looked anything up about the movie Ghosted except that it stars Chris Evans and Ana de Armas, I was low key hoping it was some kind of romantic thing featuring ghosts. Like one of them is a ghost, or they hunt ghosts, or someone owns a haunted house, just fun ghost stuff, you know? But alas, it is not to be. Ghosted refers to the practice of abandoning text threads.
Evans and de Armas are reunited as an abnormally hot couple who hit it off after the first date, only for her to punch out and never text him back. What ensues looks like an action rom-com heavy on the “action” and “com” and light on the “rom”. That’s fine, I guess. Lost City proved people like action rom-coms, and Evans and de Armas have great chemistry, although I’m not convinced it’s sexy chemistry.
They’re both extremely hot, but the parts of the trailer that click most are the action beats, not the romantic angle. They were great in Knives Out together, but they were at each other’s throats, literally and metaphorically, for that whole movie. Perhaps Chris Evans and Ana de Armas have camaraderie, more than they have chemistry. I’m just not sold on the “big romantic gesture” part of this trailer as much as I am the “two people kicking ass together” part of the trailer.
Part of the downfall of the rom-com in the 2000s was the assumption that any two attractive people can be compelling romantic leads together, but that isn’t true. (On a larger, ensemble scale, Daisy Jones & The Six is in the midst of making this same mistake, no one has any chemistry together.) Chemistry is indefinable, and it’s not always about the hottest people pairing off, it’s about finding that intangible It that makes an audience believe two people are falling in love, even if they hate each other off screen (see also: Richard Gere and Debra Winger in An Officer and a Gentleman). Camaraderie and chemistry aren’t interchangeable, and just because people liked seeing Chris Evans and Ana de Armas play antagonistic characters in a murder mystery doesn’t mean they need to headline a romantic movie together.
So it’s a good thing, I suppose, that Ghosted isn’t a straight rom-com, that it does have that action angle that we know both Evans and de Armas can deliver on. And the rest of the cast is stacked, with Amy Sedaris, Burn Gorman, Tate Donovan, Tim Blake Nelson, Adrien Brody, and #HotJafar himself, Marwan Kenzari (make HIM the lead of a rom-com, dammit!). And it doesn’t look bad, I just think the confusion between camaraderie and chemistry continues in the cinematic space, and romantic movies are a helluva lot harder to pull off than the industry gives them credit for, because they treat them as a plug-and-play formula when, really, it’s all about that indefinable chemistry that is so hard to find.