The Tourist: Brilliant Satire Confuses Critics

★ ★ ★ 1/2

I usually make a halfhearted effort to hide my disdain for the average movie critic. After a string of excellent movies were widely panned, my patience has worn thin. The Tourist is the last straw. The critical consensus is that it has little to offer but attractive stars and a simplistic plot. They couldn't be more wrong. Ostensibly an ordinary spy film, it was in fact a biting satire of the genre.

The first thing you'll notice about the movie is that the male lead isn't exactly James Bond. Rather, Depp plays an insecure Midwestern math teacher. By contrast, Angelina Jolie stars as a worldly woman of mystery, pursued by Scotland Yard. Depp's character is just the sucker who she's dragging around, one step ahead of her pursuers. Reading this description probably makes you think that this is a parody of a Bond film. It is. This eluded the critics.

What The Tourist lacks in explosions and crass humour, it makes up with a deceptively complex plot, and a pair of clever lead roles. The sheer lack of chemistry between Depp and Jolie (which the critics failed to realize was intentional) lead to plenty of ackward humour, and clever banter. Jolie is suave, and manipulative. Depp's character is, well, a math teacher. In the hands of any other actor, the role would have been unremarkable. His halting demeanor and overrationalizing under fire had me in tears the whole way through. Maybe it's because I've seen Fear and Loathing dozens of times, but every one of Depp's bizarre mannerisms had me in stitches. I kept hearing him ask in my head "is this not a reasonable place to park?" It wasn't Johnny Depp playing a Midwestern school teacher. It was Johnny Depp playing Raoul Duke portraying a Midwestern school teacher. In short, it is the funniest movie of the year.