Sadly, making Jessica Biel the requisite love interest and babe in distress in a Nicolas Cage movie wasn't the most preposterous thing about Next, which I screened Wednesday night.
Where to begin? Let's start with the premise. Based on a Philip K. Dick story (loosely, I assume), Cage plays a cheesy stage magician with a very specific gift of clairvoyance: he can see about 2 minutes into his own future. He's set on leaving Las Vegas (see how I did that?) when the feds, led by Julianne Moore, learn of his skill. They want to use him to pinpoint where a group of bad European accents have placed a nuclear weapon.
After an admittedly funny sequence in which he repeatedly tries to win the good graces of Biel's character -- think Groundhog Day, only much faster -- he succeeds and gets a ride out of town. He's 43 but looks much older. She's 25 but looks much younger. Yeah, this'll work out.
For whatever reason, the foreigners are also after Cage. (I know I'm supposed to use character names, but why bother?) They are somehow aware of what the FBI wants from Cage and plan to eliminate him before he can thwart their evildoing. I don't know why they don't just concentrate on the detonation part of the plan, but the whole thing is kinda ill-defined.
Then there's the casting. I've said enough about the lovebirds, so I'll concentrate on Moore. This was a mistake; having red hair and an FBI badge does not make you Dana Scully. Worse, her pale skin and tiny nose just weren't built for wearing shades and working in the bright sunlight of the Southwest. She looks like David Caruso.
Finally, there's the execution. There's a moment late in the film that results in a collective audience groan. (I envisioned myself 2 hours into the future, still stuck watching this film.) If you suspect that depicting 2-minute clairvoyance would be difficult, you'd be right. It tries to stay basic, but it stops making sense after a while. I was reminded of that part of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure in the police station, where future Bill and Ted help present-day Bill and Ted distract the cops and free the historical figures.