Comments Off on Ghosted

Ghosted (2023) isn’t a very good movie but it isn’t all that bad either. I much prefer to see Hollywood pouring millions into genres that have nothing to do with superhero properties. Ironically, Ghosted is invested in hosting a kind of Captain America reunion by bringing in Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie for cameos. But cashing-in on the success of a Marvel franchise isn’t the same as conforming to the status quo.

Ghosted follows the same trend as Marry Me (2022) and The Lost City (2022) of turning the gender politics of different romantic comedy formulas on their head. Each of these three films features a typically “everyman” male lead thrust into an improbable circumstance with the female lead who is far better equipped to handle the situation. More specifically, Chris Evans is the schmuck that super secret agent Ana de Armas must protect and eventually falls for; a Bond film with a woman lead and a veteran of the MCU as the Bond-girl. This premise gets more mileage than it deserves because blockbuster romantic comedies are the exception rather than the rule these days.

Of course the appeal of Ghosted isn’t entirely the result of its genre, but also the tried and true chemistry of the two romantic leads. Evans and de Armas have, including Ghosted, now starred in three films together. Although none of these three films is exactly a masterpiece, at least two of them (Ghosted and Knives Out) have helped revitalize public interest in genres that since the turn of the century have been cast by the wayside. These are classic Hollywood genres that match the celebrity appeal of Evans and de Armas. Ana de Armas is the versatile, charismatic type of performer that Claudette Colbert was in the thirties while Chris Evans is very much the Tab Hunter of our time.

After all, movies like Ghosted aren’t so much cinematic expressions as they are products of a carefully calculated equation. Ghosted has two bonafide stars as its leads who are cast to subvert the typically patriarchal precedents of the genre while simultaneously drawing on older hits like True Lies (1994) and Charade (1963) to ensure bankability. The executives who green lit Ghosted know that the film doesn’t have to be good because it ticks all the right boxes to turn a healthy profit.

What’s interesting to me is how straight to streaming movies like Ghosted have negated the prejudice that accompanied their antecedents the straight to video movie. Likely this is because nowadays the major producers of film content are, what would have been in the nineties, straight to video production companies. Appletv, Netflix, and Amazon are all working within the Roger Corman and Charles Band business model but with big studio cash to back them up. So now we see genuine B-movies like Ghosted produced as major blockbusters.