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HomeEntertainment‘Ghosted’ is Soulless and Painfully Formulaic

‘Ghosted’ is Soulless and Painfully Formulaic

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Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for Apple TV+’s “Ghosted.”

The action-adventure romantic comedy “Ghosted” was released on Apple TV+ on April 21. The film follows Cole (Chris Evans) and Sadie (Ana de Armas), two strangers who discover that neither is who they claimed to be when they accidentally embark on an international spy mission. The duo proved to have ample potential for on-screen chemistry when they previously co-starred in the films “Knives Out” and “The Gray Man.” Fans have been hoping for more ever since. Unfortunately, not a single spark can be found in this film, which offers nothing to its audience except for a taste of what a ChatGPT-written script would look like on the silver screen.

“Ghosted” centers around romantically needy farmer Cole, who meets solitary “art curator” Sadie at a farmer’s market. A bitter argument occurs before they inexplicably agree to go on a date together, indicating early on that the pair will be having plenty of hostile interactions that are agonizing to watch, but which the film insists are filled with sexual tension. 

The next day, Sadie ghosts him. When he finds out that she is in London, Cole decides to hop on a plane to surprise her. This is played as charmingly ignorant and not terrifying stalker behavior. It turns out that Sadie is actually a CIA agent and, upon landing, Cole instantly gets tangled up in her mission. It’s a downright absurd premise supported by hastily conceived plot constructs that require viewers to suspend their belief as well as their basic common sense. 

Much of the film’s action sequences border on cartoonish. The first chase scene involves Cole and Sadie driving a bus through a mountain pass, seemingly attempting to flaunt a stylistic flair similar to “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which ultimately ends up looking more like an amusement park ride. All other elements of the film are similarly synthetic, from the Hallmark channel-esque first date dialogue to Cole’s sentient stock photo parents, not to mention the cringe-inducing slow-motion shot of Sadie entering a room in a slinky black dress.

The film also constantly employs unnecessary music to hammer home the intended tone of a scene for audiences. After spending the night with Sadie, Cole is shown to be distracted during his day at work. Accompanying the shots of him repeatedly checking his phone is the Traveling Wilburys singing, “Last night / Thinking about last night.” What’s even more unfortunate is the outdated music choices for the action scenes. Most notably, “Uptown Funk” blares on top of the underwhelming fight choreography at the film’s climax.

It is extremely difficult to detect any amount of chemistry between Evans and de Armas, whose characters incessantly argue throughout the entire film. In the midst of the endless racket of gunshots and explosions, the two never stop bickering, and it makes for a genuinely painful experience. It’s meant to be a demonstration of how much they care for each other, but no one is buying it. The pair are almost visibly straining to imbue this drivel with the faintest hint of genuine romance.

Besides lacking chemistry, the script is also entirely devoid of comedic or dramatic value. It’s an unbearably tedious viewing experience all-around, and at best a mildly entertaining hate-watch. 

Surprisingly, the film’s director, Dexter Fletcher, previously directed the well-received biopic “Rocketman.” “Ghosted,” on the other hand, feels like it doesn’t have a director at all, if the title implies any sort of creative effort. The film is nothing more than a series of business decisions — a compilation of ideas chosen by algorithms to garner the most profit. It is the product of disinterested executives putting together the most basic elements required to deem something a movie and calling it a day. If artificial intelligence were asked to make a film, the result would not be much different from this.

If the shoddy green-screen effects alone are not enough indication, everything else makes it embarrassingly clear that most of the film’s budget went toward paying all the A-list actors. The entire Marvel Cinematic Universe seems to make an appearance in “Ghosted.” The movie makes no attempt to hide that everyone involved is only there to collect a check. Perhaps they had hoped that, with enough famous faces distracting the audiences, no one would notice the utter emptiness of it all.

It’s a film that’s been done a million times before, and will be done a million times more in the future. Once the credits roll, “Ghosted” leaves absolutely no impression, disappearing without a trace like the cultural phenomenon it borrows its name from.

Fei Yang is an Arts and Entertainment Intern for the spring 2023 quarter. She can be reached at feiy11@uci.edu