Directed by Dexter Fletcher and written by Chris McKenna, Rhett Reese, Erik Sommers, and Paul Wernick, Ghosted is an AppleTV+ Original film that brings Ana de Armas and Chris Evans together again in an action film. In it, farmer Cole falls head over heels for enigmatic Sadie after a date that turns into a day. The problem? He’s clingy, like really clingy. While his family thinks he’s burned that bridge with his constant texts and isn’t radiating the cactus energy he should be (read: being independent without constant affection), they encourage him to follow his heart and well, Sadie. When he shows up in London for a second date, Sadie’s life isn’t what she explained. Instead of an art curator, she’s a CIA spy, and Cole is now pulled into an international misadventure with more errors than successes.
For his part, Chris Evans as Cole is just confused. He’s a himbo who doesn’t understand how to talk to women after the first date and his inability to be a cactus is a constant punchline that works no matter how many times it’s brought up. While Cole’s wrestling experience from high school comes in handy, he is still the guy in distress in almost every situation. To say Cole is just bumbling around and very much out of place is an understatement.
That said, it works in respect to how his character relates to Sadie, our female lead and well, the spy of it all. In fact, much of Cole’s character is primarily made of tropes associated with female rom-com leads while Ana de Armas’ Sadie takes on routinely masculine ones. While the dynamic inversion is a gimmick at first, the strength of each actor and their chemistry ultimately wind up taking this element up a notch.
And that chemistry is key to selling a middling script filled to the brim with moments that can be outdated and slightly cringey but ultimately wind up getting the audience to laugh. While the representation of Pakistan fit with the wrong language and script on signs is eye-roll inducing, the gimmicks used in this section of the film pay off, primarily Cole running into one of Sadie’s exes and then the barrage of bounty hunters who also happen to be famous faces from other Evans’ films. Somehow, Evans and de Armas sell every bit of what they’re given and make it succeed. The only person who doesn’t though is Adrien Brody as the big bad Frenchman trying to sell a biological weapon. With an unplaceable accent and just really weird choices, Brody’s Leveque is absolutely absurd. But in that absurdity, Ghosted finds a charm that I struggle with quantifying.
The computer-generated effects work isn’t great, like many of the series and films we’ve gotten recently, but the unpolished moments speak to the wider B-movie rom-com feel of Ghosted, though I’m not sure if that was intentional. This is noticeable both in the action sequences and the backdrops used for cities and landscapes. On the other hand, the action is more than serviceable with both Sadie and Cole getting chances to fight baddies in fairly unique and intriguing situations.
Always played for comedy, the largest issue of the action sequences (well, apart from de Armas’ wig) comes from both the visual editing and the sound editing. In fact, the sharp change from a catchy song to a somber score in the same action moment causes just enough tonal whiplash to throw you off. Still, Evans and de Armas always bring you back.
There is a solid place in cinema for films like Ghosted. Fun films embody their tropes and just make sure the audience has a good time. Is it something groundbreaking? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one hell of a fun time, especially when it comes to films on a streaming service. Fun, erratic, and actually really funny, Ghosted thrives because everyone involved believes in the film they’re making in all of its absurdity. Part spy-thriller and all rom-com, Ghosted isn’t good, but its leads make a good time.
Ghosted is available on AppleTV+ April 21, 2023.
Part spy-thriller and all rom-com, Ghosted isn’t good, but its leads make a good time.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.