Movie Review: On paper, the talent for “Ghosted” should be enough to carry a weak script. But the technical and creative elements are too far gone to salvage any form of a watchable film. Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, and a host of cameos fall victim to a remarkably unremarkable movie.
There’s a string of action movies released on streamers that have not garner much critical approval, and we may have just met our final boss with Apple TV’s “Ghosted” – a limp and derivative romantic comedy-action hybrid that fails to deliver the charm or intrigue promised by the two stars headlining the main cast. Despite its efforts to navigate around past streaming failures like “The Gray Man,” “The Adam Project,” or “Red Notice,” “Ghosted” actually strengthens the narrative that stylized movies for streaming services usually lack the intent and individuality that their theatrical counterparts do.
The most consistent critique is that these movies look gloopy and out of sync. It’s as if the studio isn’t able to disguise the fact that they’re shooting on studio backlots and sound stages instead of on locations around the globe. It’s noticeable in “Ghosted” that both Ana de Armas and Chris Evans aren’t actually at the settings that the movie takes place in. There’s very little that feels truly authentic in this movie, and it takes away from the novelty of seeing Ana de Armas and Chris Evans on screen together in a cheesy romantic-ish (?) relationship.
That is *if* they spent much time on screen together. That’s to say that “Ghosted” has some of the oddest editing for a film so far in 2023. There is no interest in establishing that de Armas and Evans were on the set together for even a few days. There is a fracture in the film that Ana de Armas is in and the one that Chris Evans is in, and it’s apparent from the jump. It becomes awkward when they do share screentime towards the back half when the action begins to take over.
Beyond some of the technical filmmaking pieces, the movie largely centers around Chris Evans’ Cole and Ana de Armas’ Sadie attempting balance a romantic interest in one another with a confusing spy plot boiling over with new, eccentric characters at breakneck speed. I preferred the movie most when it stayed small and concealed in the first half as it focuses on building chemistry between its two stars, even if that chemistry seems manufactured and splintered at best.
The comedy generally falls flat, from the overuse of describing a relationship without regular care as one that resembles a cactus (I thought it was a witty and playful bit at first – it grows stale fast) to the remarkably lame and obnoxious choice to squeeze every actor that would take the gig into a two minute segment. There are so many cameos here that the idea of an A-lister appearing in a movie for a quick moment should be retired from filmmaking moving forward.
Director Dexter Fletcher has been responsible for some fascinating projects in the past (“Rocketman” and “Eddie the Eagle”), but he seems to be sucked into the bottomless pit of chewed up streaming directors after the disappointing “The Offer” spinoff and this. I’ll admit I was skeptical heading into “Ghosted,” but this was even worse than I was expecting. I’m not going to dig into Fletcher too much for this one because I’m not sure how much creative room he had to work with, but it is notable that his projects have turned sour lately.
With that being said, much of the creativity for “Ghosted” was certainly spearheaded by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick – the duo behind the “Deadpool” and “Zombieland” franchises, as well as a handful of other unsuccessful streaming releases. Reese and Wernick have been chasing a hit in this vein for quite some time with “6 Underground” and “Spiderhead,” but seem to come up shorter and shorter with each new attempt. I’ve found some of their previous works occasionally fun and others tedious. “Ghosted” leans harder into the latter than any of their scripts yet.
So then what does another lifeless Apple TV product mean for the streamer? I’m not sure much. Although I used to check out nearly all of their releases because they like to take time between new projects, I’m not going to cancel my subscription right before the press run for “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Napoleon.” Maybe “Ghosted” and last month’s “Tetris” (which was better than this, but not by much) is Apple TV clearing the decks before another awards season run. If that’s the case, I suppose Martin Scorsese and Ridley Scott movies are enough to win me back.
Otherwise, there’s not much more to write home about with “Ghosted.” Everybody here seems like they wanted the Apple paycheck, and I can’t blame them. The only problem is that the viewers of this derivative movie don’t get a paycheck for watching it – because they sure do deserve it if they are able to get through this slog.
“Ghosted” is available to stream now on Apple TV+
“Ghosted” Cast and Credits
Ana de Armas as Sadie Rhodes
Chris Evans as Cole Turner
Adrien Brody as Leveque
Mike Moh as Wagner
Tate Donovan as Cole’s Father
Amy Sedaris as Cole’s Mother
Lizze Broadway as Mattie Turner
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Writers: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers
Cinematography: Salvatore Totino
Editors: Chris Lebenzon, Jim May, Josh Schaeffer
Composer: Lorne Balfe