Next comes in Last. Michelle’s not a happy camper after laying down 10 Clams on this!

Michelle's Movie Review of NextNicolas Cage has reached that point in every actor’s career where it’s painfully obvious that he’s tired of working, that he doesn’t want to be involved in whatever project he’s working on. In Ghost Rider you can tell that he was living out his dream of playing a super-hero, sure it was a D list character, but as a long time comic book collector he embodied the role, understood the character’s motivations and everything. Yes from a craft point of view Ghost Rider was terrible, but it was fun. Gone is that since of “wonderment,” in his latest action film, Next. 

Based on a Philip K. Dick novel, Next is about Cris Johnson (Cage) a man who can tell the future. But here’s the twist, he only knows two minutes into the future and only if it has a direct impact on . Not a very useful power unless someone is attacking you, then you turn into a badass who can dodge every punch, or even bullets. On the fun side it does allow you to cheat at cards.

Everything is going fine for Johnson, he has a mediocre magic act in Vegas, he gets extra money from the casinos – always being careful not to draw attention to himself by winning too much money. Things start to go haywire when he uses his powers to stop someone from robbing the casino. His action draws the attention of FBI Agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) who is hot on the trail of Russian Terrorist who have a nuclear bomb in LA. Ferris will do anything and everything it takes to force Johnson to help her find the nukes. To complicate matters, Johnson becomes obsessed and falls in love with Liz (Jessica Biel) an “angel” who teach poor Indians.

There are so many incomprehensible plot points and threads that they are not even worth mentioning. This movie doesn’t fail because of a swish cheese story, it fails because there is absolutely no chemistry between Cage and Biel. Biel’s casting was so bad that it goes up there with casting Denise Richards as a Nuclear Scientist in The World Is Not Enough.

The romance between Liz and Johnson is central to the film and not once do you buy that Biel a hot 20 something woman would go for a man that’s old enough to be her father who looks like he has bad hair plugs. Not only that, but while the film goes through great pains to show us that Johnson uses his powers to figure out the perfect way to pick her up in a coffee shop. It still stretches the imagination that this woman, who only seconds before had a public breakup with her abusive boyfriend – immediately takes up with a stranger she meets during her public breakup. Then by the next day they are shaking up together? Come on! That’s just lazy writing.

I like Jessica Biel well enough, but I don’t think she can act. She has a good presence on screen, but she’s just bland. Especially when you compare her to a veteran like Julianne Moore who lights up the screen as the badass, heartless, FBI “bitch” who is doing everything in her power to save the people of LA. Next could have been good if Cage and Biel brought even half the power to their roles that Moore did.

Then there’s that god awful ending that came out of left field. I love a good twist, but this felt cheap, in that Dallas shower scene sort of way. I was a pissed off filmgoer when that happened. All the pieces were there to make Next, a decent summer film, but everyone looked bored and the utterly crappy ending ruins it.

Final Grade D

EM Review by
Michelle Alexandria
Originally Posted 4/27/07

 

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