Reel Critics: 'Knight' slightly above cut for its genre

Director James Mangold can make a serious film with extra twists for a grown-up audience. His credits include "Walk the Line," "3:10 to Yuma" and the offbeat thriller "Identity." In "Knight and Day" he adds a touch of Alfred Hitchcock and James Bond to his high-energy mix.

He combines action with romantic comedy for a modern version of classic films like "North by Northwest" or "Arabesque." Cary Grant and Gregory Peck play the cool characters at the center of those stories. Tom Cruise does a credible job playing a 21st century man of international intrigue. Cameron Diaz is the hot babe who stumbles into the hyperbolic plot and gets swept away on impossible adventures.

In a story like this, implausible developments are expected. Many strange turns and a nasty double-cross occur. High-speed chases and last-minute rescues abound. But there's also genuine humor and enough quiet time to provide welcome relief. The growing chemistry between Cruise and a maturing Diaz make it all very entertaining. This enterprise is a cut above the usual fare of this type. For fans of this genre, it's worth a summertime look and a big bag of popcorn.

Sleeper hit of the summer

"Cyrus" is a sly, quirky comedy that combines romance with a little creepiness. This improvised indie may just be this summer's surprise hit.

John (John C. Reilly) is a self-described "Shrek" who hasn't dated in years. He seems to find his happy ending when he meets sexy Molly (Marisa Tomei), and John soon moves in with her.

Ah but there's her son Cyrus – an eerily polite, overgrown mama's boy prone to panic attacks.

Jonah Hill ("Get Him to the Greek") is a pleasant surprise in Cyrus as a tightly wound man-child, the type people talk about on the 6 o'clock news as "he seemed like such a nice boy." Reilly is hilarious as a lovable loser who's not much more evolved than Cyrus.

'Grown Ups' gets thumbs down

"Grown Ups" is a so-so, overlong "Saturday Night Live" skit. It's 90 minutes of SNL alumni Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider and also Kevin James trading riffs in a pricey sandbox.

As junior high pals reunited for one weekend, the guys try to revive their former box-office glory with buffoonish, grossout humor only they seem to find funny. The best bits were already seen in the trailer. Rock and the talented female cast — among them Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph and Maria Bello — are sadly misused.

If only they'd had a hot tub time machine.

JOHN DEPKO is a Costa Mesa resident and a senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office.

SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a financial services company.

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