What would happen if everyone around Nicolas Cage acted as creepily unmoored as he does in any given flop?
The answer, the practically direct to video “Trespass,” gets as close to an answer as we’re likely to see. And it ain’t pretty.
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No one is shocked to see Cage line up another clunker, but how did Nicole Kidman and director Joel Schumacher get lassoed into this mess?
Cage plays Kyle, a wealthy diamond merchant living in the kind of home that screams .001 percent. He’s clearly hiding something from his beautiful wife Sarah (Nicole Kidman), but we don’t have time to dig through their neuroses before a band of invaders trick their way into Kyle’s compound.
The ruse is so obvious even Barney Fife might have blown the whistle on them, but the story has to start somewhere, right?
Once inside, the invaders demand Kyle open his safe and give them all of his diamonds and loot. Kyle refuses, and a poorly calibrated cat and mouse game begins. The wild card may be the couple’s daughter (“Trust” star Liana Liberato), who fled the house earlier in the evening and is expected home soon.
It doesn’t take long before Cage is contorting his face and doing what he does best – pretending he can elevate material with his Herculean acting gestures. But now it’s Kidman and the rest of the cast following suite. Ben Mendelsohn, the picture of wicked restraint in “Animal Game,” catches Cage Fever early in the film as one of the home intruders.
Schumacher, for all the heat he took over “Batman & Robin,” isn’t a hack by any standard. But it’s hard to argue otherwise here. The film’s over-emoting could be singled out as its undoing, but you could also point a crooked finger at the silly flashbacks or a script that delights in implausible twists.
The villains in “Trespass” are dumb and inconsistent, their various back stories cluttering the screen to negative effect. They threaten to shoot Kyle and Sarah if they don’t do as told, and then they threaten them again after they resist … and then it happens all over again. They’re robbing the house under a serious time constraint, but they let things linger until even Kyle is probably thinking, “I hope you kill me before the clock strikes midnight. Sheesh.”
A sexual subplot can’t even get the film’s pulse racing. Or even running in place.
The home invasion genre is sturdy enough to withstand plenty of abuse, but that was before Cage and co. got their hands on it.