The action in “Ghosted,” a new espionage comedy now streaming on Apple TV+, begins with a meet cute between Cole and Sadie, played by Chris Evans and Ana de Armas, and a question, Is it romantic or weirdly obsessive to follow someone you’ve only met once halfway around the world to ask for a second date?
Cole and Sadie meet at a country market where he’s working a flower stall. It isn’t exactly love at first sight. They get off to a bad start when he refuses to sell her a plant that needs lots of TLC, even though she is often out of town for work, frequently for months at a time. “Who can be so indifferent to a living thing?” he asks.
Feeling guilty and rude, he catches up with her as she drives away and, then and there, they agree to go on a date. What begins as an afternoon coffee hook-up quickly turns into all night affair, leaving Cole convinced he has met his soulmate. He even took a selfie of her in bed, while she was asleep, so he could cherish the moment later.
When she doesn’t return his texts, he decides to track her through the microchip on his inhaler, which he conveniently left in her purse the night before. Turns out, she’s in London.
“She didn’t ghost me,” he says optimistically, “she just doesn’t have an international calling plan.”
Despite never having been out of the country—not true says his dad. “He was conceived in Ontario.”—he jumps on a plane to rekindle the fire that sparked the night before.
But instead of being met with a shower of hugs and kisses, he is caught in a hail of bullets, when it turns out Sadie is CIA operative on a dangerous mission. “I cannot believe you got me kidnapped and tortured after one date,” he says.
She points out that he flew across the ocean to find her after only knowing her for a few hours. “That is not passive behavior,” she says.
With Cole misidentified as a spy, cue the international intrigue, heavy artillery and some light romantic complications.
“Ghosted,” which pairs Evans and de Armas after “Knives Out” and “The Gray Man,” is an action-comedy-romance in the style of “Romancing the Stone.” A mismatched pair must rely on one another to survive, all the while falling in and out of love.
The movie works best when it doesn’t take itself too seriously. By the time we get to the “protecting the people you love is never a mistake” sentiments, much of the fun of watching Captain America play against type—Cole’s own sister calls him “smothering, needy, pathetic and delusional—and de Armas in full-on action mode has wilted. Up until then, however, screenwriters Rhett Rheese and Paul Wernick—best known for writing the “Deadpool” and “Zombieland” movies—keep “Ghosted” fairly nimble on its feet, blending the action, adventure and romance into an appealing frothy confection.
During its two-hour running time “Ghosted” goes a little OTT with multiple MCU cameos, sets itself up for a sequel and slides by on the charm of its leads.