Red Notice

Red Notice ★½

A huge part of the draw of a caper is the jet-setting sense of fun, of letting us plebes watch the rich and beautiful get a paid vacation in gorgeous hotspots and glamorous hotels and casinos and whatnot. But when the entirely of a $160 million budget is devoted to salaries and animation work to insert screensaver-level images of the world onto an Atlanta soundstage, all that's left is the chemistry of the leads, and The Rock and Ryan Reynolds have the rapport of those dudes from the Sonic Drive-In commercials. There was a time when Johnson genuinely was charismatic, parlaying all that "electrifyin' sports entertainment" energy into a real screen presence just as the notion of a movie star was drying up into its current definition as a rigorously exercised avatar for IP (naturally the Rock has been uniquely well-suited to survive that transition). Reynolds continues to be punishment from Canada for the War of 1812; Joss Whedon tends to get the blame for the "sooooooo THAT happened" school of comedy that now dominates screenwriting, but there's never been a purer vessel for that style than Reynolds, who delivers every single line with such glib, tossed-off faux-casualness that I swear to god his head flaps like a South Park Canadian. But they come off like Laurel and Hardy compared to Gadot, who was inexplicably called upon to do caper banter despite her completely flat vocal delivery and dead facial language.

The endless twists and digitally rendered globetrotting attempt to cross the self-aware cool of the Ocean's movies with Indiana Jones but really just remind you that you could watch either of those instead. The parting note of a promised sequel is the year's scariest scene.