Venice is a gorgeous European locale full of beautiful scenery, exotic dining spots, and Americans dashing for their lives after they inadvertently get involved in elaborate criminal plots. At least that’s the case in next week’s release, The Tourist, and we’re sticking by it.

Two new featurettes and a collection of clips have been released from the Johnny Depp/Angelina Jolie thriller, which could provide a few hours of fun (if slightly preposterous) escapism for moviegoers of all breeds.

The Tourist is a breezy thriller/romance from director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, who was responsible for the much gloomier Foreign Lanuage Oscar winner, The Lives of Others. Donnersmarck co-wrote the Tourist screenplay with Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and the two look to have produced a fairly light-hearted caper flick – one that recalls the atmosphere and style of 50s/60s’ pics like North By Northwest or Charade (both of which starred Carey Grant, appropriately enough).

Depp takes a break from playing eccentric pirates and pale-faced wackos to star in The Tourist as Frank Tupelo, a math professor who spends far more time in the library than the real world. It’ll be refreshing to see the actor tackle the part of a truly ordinary everyday man for the first time since… What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, perhaps?

Watch the Tourist featurette about Frank (complete with commentary from a shaggy haired, eyeliner-wearing Depp) below:

Jolie gets to wear a nice collection of slinky gowns and glittering jewels in The Tourist as Elise Clifton-Ward, a mysterious woman who approaches the naive Frank on a train (watch that scene here), shows him around the sights of Venice, offers him the promise of romance – and drags him into an espionage plot that could potentially get him arrested and/or killed.

Curious about the oddly-accented lady’s motivation? Watch the “Elise” featurette below to learn more:

The Tourist looks to play its cat-and-mouse game out at a steady brisk pace and maintain a fun, occasionally humorous mood throughout its running time. It has the potential to be the trivial but entertaining romp that we hoped to get in Knight and Day, a film which ended up missing the mark for a number of reasons (not least because of its less-than-enthralling leading lady).

Watch four clips from The Tourist to get a better feel for what the film has to offer:

The Tourist arrives in theaters in the U.S. on December 10th, 2010.

Source: Columbia Pictures, Yahoo! Movies