It starts in an airport with bubbly June Havens (Cameron Diaz), on her way to her sister's wedding, literally running into smooth-talking Roy Miller (Tom Cruise)—not once but twice, which makes it look like one of them is doing it on purpose, and it's not June.
Roy helps her pick herself up and gather her luggage—twice—and then an odd thing happens: Roy boards the plane, and June, supposedly booked on the same flight, is told that her boarding pass is wrong and she's not on that flight after all. "Sometimes things happen for a reason," Roy tells her as he boards alone.
Meanwhile, in some intelligence command center, security footage of Roy colliding with June is being carefully reviewed, and it looks like he's slipping a MacGuffin into and out of her luggage. Could they be in cahoots? The agents decide to keep the two of them together, and suddenly June is told that they've found her a seat after all. No wonder: The flight is nearly empty. After some flirtatious banter, June heads to the ladies' room to freshen up and gather her nerve to put a move on Roy. What she doesn't know is that every other passenger on the flight is an enemy agent gunning for Roy—and that Roy is a superspy, possibly rogue, capable of dealing with almost any number of assailants.
All this in the first ten minutes or so. In broad strokes, not necessarily a bad set-up for a frothy action-comedy-romance with echoes of movies from Mr. & Mrs. Smith and True Lies to Romancing the Stone and Charade. Credible star power, exotic locales, energetic set pieces and a tongue-in-cheek tone that never takes itself too seriously supply many of the right ingredients. Some of the action scenes have panache. I like June wearing a bridesmaid gown and boots in one car chase, and a scene with the running of the bulls in Seville gets points for creativity.
But consider the sloppiness of just the first ten minutes: Why was June booked in the first place on a flight with no other actual passengers—a flight that was only a trap for Roy? If it was an actual scheduled flight, where are the other passengers? How could the attendant get away with telling June that she wasn't on the flight—wouldn't her boarding pass list the gate and flight? Why does Roy get on a plane he knows is a trap? Why do enemy agents attack Roy physically in mid-flight? Why not just land him somewhere where he can be easily surrounded and captured?
Little things like plot holes and leaps in logic might not matter that much in a movie like this, if it's working. Watching Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade is a lot of fun even if you're not completely sure afterward exactly what happened. If True Lies works for you, it's because Arnold and Jamie Lee Curtis sell its absurdities. If you find yourself nit-picking plot points and motivations, it's a sign the movie isn't working.
Part of the problem is Roy. Is he a dangerous, paranoid renegade agent, as federal authorities claim? Or is he the one person that June can trust in a world gone mad? The problem with the second theory is that he's clearly at least a little cracked, and why are authorities eager to kill him? The problem with the first theory is that he's played by Tom Cruise, and are we really supposed to believe that Cruise is playing the bad guy opposite Cameron Diaz in a movie like this?