Have you ever dated somebody who was super good-looking, but there wasn't really a connection, and you were pretty sure they were straight-up dumb, but they got a pass because it's fun to make out with hot people and you decided not to care about substance? And you knew in your heart that it was nonsense, but he was glossy and loud and fast and fun, and sometimes that's enough?
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a movie version of that person.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit seems smart at first, because there he is, at the London School of Economics! And he can be scary and exciting, too, like when his helicopter crashes over Afghanistan. He's romantic, as evidenced by his love for physical therapist Cathy (Keira Knightley). And do I spot daddy issues?! I think I do! (Daddy issues represented by Kevin Costner.) It isn't long until Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit gets hired by the CIA to analyze some vague money things—and discovers that Russia wants to seek vengeance for the cold war by blowing things up and crashing the economy! (The economy is represented by computers and clocks.) Don't you want to love him? Of course you do! Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit can ride a motorcycle like nobody's business and his blue eyes touch the inside of your heart.
With time, though, you realize that you don't have to listen to the words coming out of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit's mouth to know exactly what he's saying. Also, his expertise in economics seems made up (stocks! global markets! currency? Wall Street!). And you're preeetty sure his Russian is just gibberish. Once you get past the flash, he's actually pretty dull.
That said, you still want to sleep with him. And that's okay! Hot people are hot, even the dumb ones. That doesn't make you a bad person. But don't pretend it's going somewhere it's not.
dir. Kenneth Branagh