“Dream Scenario” with Nicolas Cage Shows Comedic Nightmare of Newfound Fame

The premise that a frumpy professor portrayed by Nicolas Cage is inexplicably invading the dreams of people everywhere is an excellent jumping-off point for a film of mostly successful big swings that also functions as a surprising wake-up call about profound societal issues. Cage is effective as a prickly protagonist whose pride gets the best of him when he finds himself an unwitting interloper in others’ consciousness in Kristoffer Borgli’s brainy comedy Dream Scenario (B). A committed Cage gets solid ensemble support from the talented Julianne Nicholson as his profoundly observant wife and from hilarious Michael Cera as cynical consultant to the big man on hippocampus. Borgli creates an uneasy sense of dread throughout the movie dotted with droll observations and fun bits of physical comedy. The story plumbs topics ranging from cancel culture wars to the subversive effects of modern propaganda. Alas third act problems break the film’s stride; it’s like a two-part anthology with most of it a masterpiece followed by a mild misfire of a coda. The movie is best in its quiet moments as we watch Cage embrace the fantasy. There’s a lot to enjoy in entertaining the thought.

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