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An experiment in terrible

Today I decided to clear a little room off my TV by doing some blockbuster online spring cleaning. If you, like me, have this movies-by-mail service, then you’ve probably felt the obligation to eat the leftovers of your media diet. I had that instinct and later regretted it, because in between I watched ‘Next’ – last summer’s forgotten Sci-fi Nick Cage thriller. Well, the short story is that it was terrible. But the long story is available here.

The cleverest thing about this movie is the credits, which play backwards as if to remind us that we just wasted two hours. Thanks assholes. First off, the script is limp, featuring B-movie cheese and blockbuster stunts rolled together, minus a personality. Normally, everyone’s playing it straight; earning their paychecks without much fuss, but occasionally you’ll be momentarily interested in a so-bad-it’s-good moment. Like when Cage gets safely swept up in an avalanche of cars by dropping to his knee with an Elvis arm pump (true story). But the improbabilities are best expressed in the casting. Cage plays a sleazy magician who bares the heavy burden of a superpower. And oddly this burden makes you stalk Jessica Biel and overact. Somehow his inappropriately timed and occasionally impossible magic tricks sweep fucking Jessica Beil off her feet. I’m sorry, but the biggest suspension of disbelief came from her being wooed by his shtick. Our first impression of her character is that she’s sassy and kinda mean, but that’s immediately stripped away in every other scene where she plays a love sick kitten. The vibe between them shoots for true love, but lands at creepy voyeur neighbor. It felt icky to see them in bed together.

Then there are the gimmick stunts, which this film is required to have because it has a gimmick. You will see our heroic sleazy voyeur dodge bullets, split himself into future copies, and let extra’s die for no good reason. I mean, if the guy can see into the future, why not save SWAT cop #2? It is a sad moral ambivalence to think that being in a hurry justifies marching cops through gunfire. Our hero just lets them get shot, whataguy.

There are so many things wrong with this movie it’s difficult to choose one bad note to end on. In terms of this film, a long review demeans us both. On a good day, it’s almost bad enough to be good, but not quite. 3 cheers for anyone who thought that last line made sense/11

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