German director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's The Tourist, which couples generally-dopey math teacher and eponymous traveler Frank (Johnny Depp) with permanently poised Elise (Angelina Jolie, who tries to occupy a space even smaller than her already diminutive frame), is an oddly comic caper where nearly every character embodies a dispassionate, truncated duality of good and bad.
Aboard a train headed for Venice, Italy, the primary setting for The Tourist, Elise selects Frank as a simulacrum for a mysterious letter-writing lover, Alexander Pierce, in order to confuse the overly conspicuous police presence (fronted by the disappointingly bland Paul Bettany) watching her clipped yet swanky movements. Frank is in more peril than he realises though, as he is also inadvertently mistaken for her lover by some gangsters that Pierce had swindled for a song in the past. As Frank becomes the target of paralleling vendettas, he has to clear his name and make sure he doesn't lose the too-good-to-be-true woman who's impacted his life so suddenly.
The dialogue, though it struggled to float consistently, allowed a space for the opulent settings to swallow the viewer. Unfortunately the same tact cannot be noted for the extras direction; there were far to many tanned, suited men turning their heads as Elise sauntered in and out of their collective consciousness. This coupled with an annoyingly high number of scenes placing Jolie at the helm of a boat with an ironing-board back and a score that was a little too insistent in its jocularity, meant that a less-is-more approach could have given the movie some more of the life it needed.
Still, the end effect was genuine entertainment; The Tourist hasn't enough detractions that it should fall by the wayside. Go see it for a simply fun time at the movies.