Reel Shorts | Next

27 04 2007

After giving arguably two of the worst performances in both “Ghost Rider” and “Wicker Man,” excuse me if I was a little skeptical towards Nicolas Cage’s latest film, “Next.” Although his performance is improved, it is the script that lets him down in this film.

Cage plays small-time Las Vegas magician Frank Cadillac aka Cris Johnson who harbors a special gift – the ability to see the future, but only 2 ½ minutes ahead. The catch is that he can only see his future, not anyone else’s. Without his knowledge, he is being monitored by FBI agent, Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) who suspects that his “magic act” is a little too real. Her office has been tipped off that a nuclear bomb has been stolen and a group is threatening to detonate it somewhere in Southern California. Agent Ferris believes that by using Johnson’s special skill she can stop the terrorists before they strike.

After a childhood of serving as a scientific experiment and constant questioning, Johnson just wants to live a low-key, normal life. He occasionally gambles and is content to win small amounts to avoid casino suspicions. His ability creates some humorous situations throughout the film as he is able to avoid various pitfalls using his talent. While he’s being pursued by Ferris and the Feds, Johnson has his eyes on a sexy woman he sees in his future. Although he has a small window that allows him to see future events, when it comes to this particular woman the length of time of his vision expands. Johnson finally meets his mystery lady, Liz (Jessica Biel) and the two eventually take a road trip, with both the Feds and the bad guys in hot pursuit.

Cage’s sometimes kooky on screen persona is perfect for this character. He gives a performance that is engaging and highly entertaining drawing the audience into this thriller. The problem is that just like in last fall’s time-travel adventure, “Déjà vu,” there is a fine line between really and fantasy. By the time you reach the conclusion, you may feel cheated. Sometimes what you see may not always be what you get. Like Cage, we see the future and it has us all looking for the “Next” film.

Grade: C-

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