Review: The kooky version of Nicolas Cage returns in ‘Army of One’
If nothing else, the comedy “Army of One” brings back the unself-consciously kooky Nicolas Cage — the one who risks being abrasive for the trade-off of being memorable — after a string of mumbly, monotone performances, mostly in mediocre action movies.
In “Army of One,” Cage and “Borat” director Larry Charles (working off a screenplay by Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman) riff on the true story of Gary Faulkner, a colorful American civilian who made multiple attempts to sneak into the wilds of Pakistan and capture Osama bin Laden. As portrayed by Cage, Gary is a jovial know-it-all with a good heart and delusions of grandeur, who makes friends and causes trouble everywhere he goes.
The motormouthed Gary comes up with a half-baked kidnapping scheme, fails miserably, and starts over, with the cautious support of his girlfriend (well-played by Wendi McLendon-Covey) and the guidance of “God” (Russell Brand).
The movie’s noisy, busy and not that funny. But there is a sweetness and a cockeyed optimism here. At heart, it’s a salute to American gumption — however misguided.
More important, Cage is as fun to watch as he’s been in a good long while. With his high-pitched voice and wiry energy, he creates a character who’s sometimes annoying, sometimes sympathetic and always wholly alive on the screen.
‘Army of One’
Rating: R for language and drug use.
Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Playing: Laemmle NoHo 7, North Hollywood
Inside the business of entertainment
The Wide Shot brings you news, analysis and insights on everything from streaming wars to production — and what it all means for the future.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.