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dir Ben Brewer, Alex Brewer
scr Ben Brewer, Adam Hirsch
prd Molly Hassell, Braxton Pope, Brad Schlei, Mike Nilon
with Nicolas Cage, Elijah Wood, Sky Ferreira, Jerry Lewis, Ethan Suplee, Steven Williams, Kenna James, Keston John, Kevin Weisman, Christie Beran, Joe Palubinsky, Alexandria Lee
release US 13.May.16, UK 27.May.16
Not quite cops: Cage and Wood
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
This blackly comical crime thriller is thoroughly entertaining, with its nutty characters and ramshackle plot, but it stubbornly refuses to satisfy the audience with either resonance or thematic meaning. There's so little to it that the film will ultimately be as unmemorable as its generic title. At least it's fun while it lasts.
David (Wood) works in evidence management for the Las Vegas Police Department, but he's bored with his job and fills his spare time with sex and drugs. His boss Jim (Cage), son of a veteran cop (Lewis), is equally tired of being pushed around by their shouty captain (James). Then David spots some suspicious goings on at a suburban supermarket, realising that there's some sort of super vault inside. So he and Jim plot an elaborate heist to find out what it contains. But even with their careful planning, nothing quite goes as planned.
The film is written and directed in a loosely unhinged style that continually undercuts the comedy and tension with character details. This gives the movie a meandering tone that feels fresh and unusual, with moments of intense suspense and sudden violence mixed in among the goofier farcical elements. But the best things are the subtle surprises as both men reveal quirks about themselves that are absurdly hilarious.
Cage skilfully balances Jim's brooding intensity with the fact that he might actually be a wacky nutcase. This is a constantly emerging character with angles Cage never tires of playing with. His interaction with Wood's David is edgy, silly and packed with sardonic wit. And Wood responds with his own wide-eyed intensity, making David both warmly engaging and enjoyably unpredictable. Side characters add only hints of texture. Ferreira adds a feisty kick as their hostage, but Lewis has little more than a cameo.
There's so much going on in the subtext of the central characters that it's frustrating that the story itself is so thin. The caper is cleverly plotted, with plenty of unexpected wrinkles and sudden twists, and yet it doesn't really mean anything to either the characters or the audience. Jim and Dave drift into this heist seemingly because they have nothing better to do, so the stakes feel oddly low. And a couple of stunning final kinks in the story remind us that we really don't care where they end up.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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