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So you wanted a good movie? Next.

Published April 27, 2007


In Next, Nicolas Cage's character can see the future and alter it by his subsequent decisions.

Sadly, Cage himself must lack this talent. Otherwise he never would have signed on for Next.

Sorry, fantasy fans. I know it's hard to believe Cage could somehow screw up two super-powered hero films within scarcely 10 weeks.

At least he only acted in Ghost Rider. Cage is the head producer of Next. Which means he should be making the apologies.

Next is very loosely based on a story by sci-fi icon Philip K. Dick, whose works have inspired films including Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report.

But this script is pure Hollywood contrivance: Cage plays Cris, a low-rent Las Vegas magician on the run from FBI agent Callie Ferris Julianne Moore. She's hoping Cris' abilities (which are never explained) can help locate a nuclear weapon stolen by terrorists.

But Cris isn't playing ball. He's too focused - albeit understandably - on hooking up with the girl of his premonitions, a sexy young teacher played by Jessica Biel.

Really. That Jessica Biel. Esquire's "Sexiest Woman Alive" Jessica Biel.

Next's hardest sell isn't getting us to buy Cris' special powers. It's the idea that 25-year-old bombshell Biel might immediately fall for Cage (43 and looking his sketchiest).

Then there's Moore, who still looks gorgeous at 46, but she's just here for the paycheck. Her character is ridiculous, and her performance is laughable. I never would have believed the two-time Oscar nominee could be straight-up bad in any movie. But she is in Next.

Oh, and don't ask me what the heck Columbo himself, Peter Falk, is doing here in a single, brief scene, or even who his character is supposed to be. The filmmakers must not know, either.

Cage is amusing at times, and a few action sequences have real energy, though several special effects look cheesy and rushed. But the movie isn't helped by a late twist out of nowhere that appeared to leave most viewers at a screening cold.

That's just the final nail. Next tries to be too many things. It's a hodgepodge that falls shy as a fantasy film, an action flick, a thriller, a drama, a love story or anything else.

And it's a little hard to justify dropping hard-earned cash for this mess when you're a week away from a web-slinging tale that is likely to handle all of the above in grand style.

Rick Gershman can be reached at or (813) 226-3431. His Ill Literate posts appear online at



Grade: D

Director: Lee Tamahori

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, Jessica Biel, Thomas Kretschmann, Tory Kittles, Peter Falk

Screenplay: Paul Bernbaum, Gary Goldman, Jonathan Hensleigh, based on The Golden Man by Philip K. Dick

Rating: PG-13; violence, language

Running time: 96 min.

[Last modified April 27, 2007, 11:51:17]

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