Ghosted is like a green smoothie that promises you that THIS smoothie will taste good, and not at all like licking grass. Like that smoothie, Ghosted is full of many ingredients meant to sweeten the flavor, but also like that smoothie, it still ends up tasting like licking grass. That is to say, it is less than the sum of its parts.
Directed by Dexter Fletcher—he of rescuing Bohemian Rhapsody fame—and starring Chris Evans and Ana de Armas, Ghosted is loaded with talent in front of and behind the camera, and the idea of a genre mash-up crossing a spy thriller with a romantic comedy isn’t bad, per se. You could make a case that Ghosted is following in the footsteps of The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) in that regard. But despite all the talent involved, Ghosted is merely…fine.
Evans stars as Cole, a farmer who put his life on hold to help his parents and got stuck. De Armas stars as Sadie, an international woman of mystery who initially passes herself off as an art curator to explain her globe-trotting lifestyle. Their meet cute involves bickering over houseplants in a farmers’ market, and then Sadie and Cole spend one magical day together before Sadie falls off the face of the earth. Convinced he has not, in fact, been ghosted, Cole uses an AirTag to follow Sadie to London in a grand romantic gesture, where he discovers his dream girl is more of a dream than he was prepared for.
Yes, you read that right, the plot of Ghosted hinges on both crass Apple product placement AND blatantly creepy, boundary-shredding behavior. The script, from Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers, includes several jokes about Cole’s behavior, but it still rewards him with the girl in the end. It’s as if everyone knew the setup was bad and wouldn’t really fly but instead of coming up with something better, they settled for aiming a few potshots at their own creepy protagonist as if that makes everything okay. It bears repeating: pointing at a problem is not the same thing as addressing the problem. Cole IS a creepy stalker and Sadie SHOULD run screaming in the other direction, but of course, all must bow to the formula, so Sadie’s natural revulsion at Cole’s actions is overcome with minimal resistance.
There is stuff in Ghosted that works, though. Evans and de Armas don’t have particularly incendiary chemistry—despite how many characters comment on Cole and Sadie’s sexual tension, there isn’t any—but they are GREAT bickering partners. The scenes where Cole and Sadie are at each other’s throats are entertaining enough, and the action is mostly good, if not particularly memorable (Has John Wick Ruined Us For Other Action Movies? Discuss.) There are a series of cameos that are more distracting than serviceable, but Marwan Kenzari pops up for a scene-stealing role, and Mike Moh is having fun as the lead henchman. Adrien Brody is also here, apparently, he just wanted to get some reps in practicing his French accent, his character is neither interesting nor memorable as he mostly seems to be working on his accent, not his actual performance (ditto for Tim Blake Nelson).
If you can set aside the spine-crawling implications of Cole’s behavior—a string of “crazy” exes who all left him for being overbearing, red flags everywhere, YOU IN DANGER, GIRL—Ghosted is adequate for a couple hours’ entertainment. It is not a movie anyone would pay to see in a theater, conveniently, it’s streaming at home, where the stakes for mediocrity are much lower. And really, Chris Evans and Ana de Armas know which beats to hit and when, and while the actual romance is unconvincing—not least because Cole is a walking red flag, but also their lack of chemistry is haunting—they know how to land jokes and punches, which at least carries the action and comedy parts of the movie.
For a staying-in film, Ghosted is perfectly fine. But if you are looking for a sexy romance with a side of international skullduggery, you could also watch The Thomas Crown Affair, Pierce Brosnan and Renee Russo have quips AND chemistry.
Ghosted is now streaming on Apple TV+.