Is there any way to fully know who the person you’re interested in is who they say they are? We all hold something back to protect ourselves or think the other person won’t accept us – the ole dating game. At the heart of director Dexter Fletcher’s Ghosted lies a simplistic rom-com formula of a boy and girl looking who unexpectantly hit it off. When we meet Sadie (Ana de Armas), she’s mourning the death of a friend and looking for a little getaway in the middle of nowhere. All the while, she contemplates if she will be alone forever. On the car drive over, a friend Sadie speaks to tells her to start with a house plant other than jumping into any romantic endeavor.
From there, enter Cole (Chris Evans), a farmer who happens to be getting over a breakup. He’s a resident loser in love. How do we know this? Everybody, from the local farmers market to his little sister Mattie (Lizze Broadway), makes fun of him about it. Cole is a romantic, but he might be a tad bit clingy. In a chance meeting, Cole and Sadie hit it off (in a very “of all the farmer’s markets in the world, she had to come into mine” way). They spend the day and night together, and everything seems great. But unrequited texts from Sadie send Cole into a tailspin. Feeling that she’s the one and a creepily placed tracker, Cole goes on a “romantic” surprise where he discovers she’s a spy working for the CIA – not an art dealer like Sadie first told him.
While the twist may not be as exhilarating as hoped, Evans and Armas exhibit some fun with the material. They show comfort in bouncing humor and quibbling off each other – even if some of the writing is lacking. Evans tries his best to portray the down-on-his-luck, afraid-to-take-action essence of Cole. Admirable for a change in pace, but a little less believable. The running themes between the characters are sandwiched between many of the significant action set pieces of explosions and firefights bookmarked by popular pop and rock songs. So, Cole is a bit clingy, and Sadie’s job lends her to think about missions over people. That’s perfectly understandable if the subtext wasn’t constantly said to the audience.
There are many times when the dialogue overly tries to confirm what each character lacks and why they should be together. Yes, Sadie has to learn the lesson of letting someone in, and Cole has to take a chance in life once in a while. The natural progression of things should flow within the film. It’s not all to say Ghosted is all problems of many genres existing in one place. While there’s a potential love story, some espionage comes in the form of Leveque (Adrian Brody), a French arms broker looking for passcodes to gain dominion over a devastating weapon. Within that begets a whos who of bounty hunter cameos ranging from John Cho, Anthony Mackie, and Sebastian Stan.
Ghosted certainly has the peripheral of a globe-trotting action film with the wide-ranging cinematography style of Salvatore Totino. When the film goes for its more concrete emotional beats, it feels like the charisma of the leads and what we are being told about their characters are at war. Why would Sadie fall for a guy that followed him across the world uninvited? On the flip side, why would a homebody like Cole elect someone in a dangerous profession like Sadie? It could be a case of opposites attract, but Ghosted doesn’t provide enough meat to get you there.
Ultimately, it should be satisfying that these two people learned their lessons through rather highly stressful ordeals (saving the world will do that). Instead, the varying gags and prolonged bickering make Ghosted feel like thinly veiled couples therapy than love connection.