How Badly Did “The Tourist” Bomb Last Weekend?

I was pleasantly surprised by the Golden Globe nominations, with one jarring exception: “The Tourist.” Why the hell would Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp get Best Actress/Actor nominations for a movie critics have agreed is a huge stinker? The movie totally bombed at the box office this weekend, pulling in a (relatively) measly $17 million while the third “Narnia” installment earned $24.5 million. For the record, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and “Cop Out” had stronger openings this year. [Huffington Post]

A while back, we were totally psyched for this movie because we thought Johnny and Angelina would create some fireworks. We thought, “Will they fall in love? Could they be the next Brangelina? Oh, and there’s a naked shower scene?” But there’s zero chemistry to be found on screen. Many critics say the only thing to come out on top from the flick is the Venice tourism bureau. I’m not going to break out any spoilers for the occasion, but let’s just say that if the wooden acting weren’t bad enough, there’s an obscenely dumb plot twist that invalidates the rest of the movie and leaves you (if you make the mistake of seeing it) wondering why they bothered making the first half. In case you haven’t been following, the plot goes something like this: British agent Elise (Angelina Jolie) ropes dopey American math teacher Frank (Johnny Depp) into posing as her lover in Venice after receiving a note that he’d received $20 million in plastic surgery and she needed to find a doppelganger to get the men after him off his trail. Russian henchmen then hunt the math teacher, thinking he’s the agent’s hubby who stole tons of money from them.

You can’t get a much more scathing review than the one from Peter Travers at Rolling Stone, who said, “In a year of craptaculars, ‘The Tourist’ deserves burial at the bottom of the 2010 dung heap,” before calling Jolie a “walking mannequin.” [Rolling Stone]

Meanwhile, Claudia Puig from USA Today said the script was “tedious, sluggishly directed and terribly written. Dialogue is beyond stilted, as if badly translated from another language.” [USA Today]

And in my favorite review from Slate (which if you’re interested, gives up all the spoilers), Dana Stevens says, “As for Depp, his character makes so little sense that he can hardly be blamed for blinking his way through the movie with an expression of blank-faced puzzlement that recalls Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice-presidential debate.” [Slate]

People obviously had elevated expectations, given its star power and the fact that it was directed by 2007 Oscar winner Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (“The Lives of Others”). But I’m dumbfounded by how far they missed the mark. And even more shocked that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association thought Jolie and Depp’s performances were worthy of Golden Globes. I have nothing but respect for both of them, but Jolie herself admitted that she only took the role because it would be a “quick shoot” in Venice.

In case I haven’t persuaded you that this is bullocks, I will close with Mick LaSalle from the San Francisco Chronicle‘s words: “There are all kinds of bad movies in the world, but it’s really only stardom that can create the exact variety of cinematic abortion we find in ‘The Tourist.’” [SF Gate]

If you saw the movie and thought it had some redeeming qualities, please fill me in because I’m sitting here, scratching my head.

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