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PG-13
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -2

Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, Jessica Biel, Thomas Kretschmann, Tory Kittles, Peter Falk. Written by Gary Goldman, Jonathan Hensleigh, Paul Bernbaum. Directed by Lee Tamahori.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A Las Vegas showroom magician can see a few minutes into the future. When a terrorist group threatens to detonate a nuclear device in Los Angeles, a government agent must convince the magician to help her stop the cataclysm.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Nobody plays quirky better than Nick Cage (Moonstruck, Valley Girl, Raising Arizona). And no one is more likable on screen. He proved that when he portrayed a vulnerable arms dealer in Lord of War and a car thief in Gone in 60 Seconds. Who else could play likeable weapons dealers and car thieves? Nor does anyone attempt more interesting screen conceptions (Adaptation, Matchstick Men). But he doesn't always decide well when choosing roles. Let's put it this way - he takes chances. Unfortunately, those choices don't always pan out. Ghost Rider must have looked good on paper. So, I'm sure, did this one. You enter the theater thinking "Maybe someone could really have the power of seeing into the future." By the end, however, it has become a corny, cartoonish premise so farfetched you feel like you're watching an action-adventure adaptation of Groundhog Day. Actually, that was a good film because it was a purposely funny parable, one that didn't take itself seriously. Here, everyone is very serious.

Those associated with the production have proven themselves talented. But an actor has to fit a role. Julianne Moore as an infield FBI agent? Who thought that was a good idea? Surely no one did by the last day of filming. And here is a film where terrorists are plotting to blow up LA. But we wouldn't want to insult real terrorists, so these guys are French. I kid you not. But the lead doesn't want to help the FBI. So we spend the majority of the movie eluding, not the bad guys, but the good guys. Oh, come to think of it, according to Hollywood, the FBI are the bad guys. Those folks who want to blow up America, they're just reacting to our capitalistic and imperialistic ways. I forgot.

After the lead is held hostage in what looks like a communist debriefing room, his eyes forced open ala A Clockwork Orange, and before the writer has Nick's character splitting into several clones, running around trying to elude the French terrorists while attempting to save his girlfriend who's bound to a wheelchair, wearing a vest made out of dynamite, I found myself thinking, this isn't a movie, it's a pipe load.

Try my suggested video alternative: Groundhog Day. Bill Murray learns how to treat others after being caught in a surreal world where he wakes up each morning to re-live the same day.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Paramount

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Six obscenities, mostly the s-word, and two minor expletives - damn and hell.
Profanity: One use each of God's name followed by a curse and Jesus used as an expletive.
Violence: A lot of shooting, including one guy getting shot in the leg at point blank range only to later have his throat slit (off camera); a woman is found dead. We are told she also had her throat cut, but when we see the photo there is no blood and no cut mark. There are beatings and the FBI hold the lead hostage; his girlfriend is held hostage by the terrorists. We see her blown up several times through long shots. There are several jolting scenes, including an abrupt car crash. Blood: for all the killing, there's not much blood.
Sexual Intercourse: The lead twosome, knowing each other for a whole twenty-four hours, sleep together.
Nudity: None.
Homosexual Conduct: None.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None.
Drug Abuse: Some drinking. The lead smokes.
Other: None.
Running Time: 96 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and Adults

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