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'Argylle' Review

LightsCameraJackson LightsCameraJackson Critic In “Argylle”, Bryce Dallas Howard stars as spy novel series author Ellie Conway. On a train, she meets real spy Aidan (played by Sam Rockwell) and gets caught-up in an escapade that puts her life — and the world — on the line. It’s also supposed to make you question what’s real and what’s fictional. Here’s my question: Why did Apple spend $200 million on an absolute dud?

In the first five minutes (a book reading / launch party event for Ellie Conway’s fourth “Argylle” book), Conway says some things that allude to too much of what’s to come. “Argylle” is a much less successful version of other films that focus on writers imagining their characters coming to life, including “Stranger Than Fiction” and “Ruby Sparks”, as well as two 2010 action movies — “Knight and Day” and “Salt”. Director Matthew Vaughn (“Kingsman”) thinks what he’s doing is clever, and hopes you laugh and smile often, right to the bizarrely-produced mid-credits scene.

“Argylle” is a very slow, goofy, chatty 2hr. 19min. experience. I found myself surprisingly bored. The script is a dud. Vaughn relies on his trademark, stylized action sequences, which are predictably annoying, showy and masked in CGI. And there are numerous quick edits during these scenes as Howard goes back and forth watching Aidan and her Agent Argylle creation (played by Henry Cavill) kick butt. We get it. It’s too much.

Howard and Rockwell’s performances are embarrassing. The rest of the cast is wasted in forgettable roles. A good portion of the budget certainly went to paying Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, John Cena, Dua Lipa and Oscar-winner Ariana DeBose. About half of Samuel L. Jackson’s screen time is devoted to him watching the Lakers.

Universal attempted to give “Argylle” some life and energy with its “Who’s the real Agent Argylle?” marketing campaign. The payoff doesn’t match the build-up, as none of the “twists” (including the major one) work. The promotion also heavily centered on Conway’s cat, who’s largely a non-factor. Talk about a CAT-astrophe.

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LightsCameraJackson LightsCameraJackson Critic

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