Two Big Stars But No Sparks In 'The Tourist'

The new movie The Tourist stars two of the biggest names in Hollywood: Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. But they don't shine in this not particularly thrilling thriller.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

"The Tourist" opens this week - a movie that brings together two of Hollywood's most gorgeous stars. Here's a review from Kenneth Turan.

KENNETH TURAN: There is a moment in "The Tourist" when Johnny Depp turns to Angelina Jolie and asks: Why is all this happening? It's a question moviegoers will be asking themselves as they watch a not particularly thrilling thriller about mistaken identity that never lives up to expectations.

These two stars first meet on a fast train from Paris to Venice. She is Elise, a glamorous femme fatale trying to elude the world's police. He is Frank, an ordinary man about to be drawn into an extraordinary world.

(Soundbite of movie, "The Tourist")

Ms. ANGELINA JOLIE (Actor): (as Elise) I'm Elise.

Mr. JOHNNY DEPP (Actor): (as Frank) I'm Frank.

Ms. JOLIE: (as Elise) That's a terrible name.

Mr. DEPP: (as Frank) It's the only one I got.

TURAN: There is a startling lack of chemistry between Depp and Jolie. A combination of the actress playing dressed up and the actor doing dressed down dooms their connection.

(Soundbite of movie, "The Tourist")

Ms. JOLIE: (as Elise) You read spy novels. I'm the mysterious woman on the train. You tell me what my story is.

Mr. DEPP: (as Frank) OK. I think you could be a diplomatic attach´┐Ż, or maybe a girl from East Germany whose father's been kidnapped.

TURAN: Jolie plays Elise as a femme fatale and a half in a series of drop-dead outfits. Elise is less a flesh and blood woman than a well-dressed mannequin who wears clothes better than she engages emotions.

Depp could have been heartthrob number one for many moviegoers, but his soul is the soul of a character actor, and given half the chance he will flee playing the classic romantic lead. "The Tourist" gives Depp the excuse he needs to hide his formidable charisma. But his insistence on underplaying Frank has a paralyzing effect.

(Soundbite of movie, "The Tourist")

Mr. DEPP: (as Frank) Some people tried to kill me.

Unidentified Man (Actor): (as character) I was told you were reporting a murder.

Mr. DEPP: Attempted murder.

Unidentified Man: (as character) That's not so serious.

Mr. DEPP: No, not when you downgrade it from murder. When you upgrade it from room service, it's quite serious.

TURAN: The makers of "The Tourist" were going for a caper movie in the Alfred Hitchcock mold, but what they got instead is a remake of "Zombieland." Zombies may be all the rage these days, but this is not where you want to find them.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: The movie is "The Tourist." Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times. And we have more reviews at NPR.org, including one for "The Tempest" with Helen Mirren, and a new biography of the late Spalding Gray.

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