'Trespass': Nobody Home
Glenn Kenny, Special to MSN Movies
"OK, let's start over," the ostensible ringleader of a band of unusually stupid criminals exclaims about an hour into "Trespass." This will likely be taken as very bad news by the audience, which might believe that it has to sit through yet another full hour of the yelling and screaming and gun pointing and yelling and screaming and gun pointing that this film mistakes for high cinematic tension and suspense. But it's OK, the film only has about another half hour to go. OK, that's not OK.
Directed by the generally uninspired but at times inexplicably bankable Joel Schumacher, and starring a facially bloated Nicolas Cage and a facially frozen Nicole Kidman in a faux-elaborate home-invasion scenario, this picture could have been alternately titled "The Desperate-to-Find-a-New-Agent Hours." Indeed, one of the most salient features of this film is the unusual release it's getting. For a while it had been rumored to be going straight to video, and now it's opening in some elaborate hybrid theatrical/video-on-demand scheme. Well, whether it's watched in a traditional fashion or via some not-terribly exciting new-media would-be paradigm, "Trespass" is still something of a dog, although it does provide some nasty laughs insofar as it features once big movie stars going through the paces of cheapie quasi-grindhouse thrillers. The climax even throws in some nail-gun action, in the honorable tradition of "The Toolbox Murders."
Cage plays Kyle Miller, a hotshot diamond dealer (or is he?) whose work keeps him a trifle disconnected from unhappy wife Sarah (Kidman) and their teen daughter, Avery (Liana Liberato). Just as he's about to make a deal that's going to turn everything around (or is it?) a bunch of lowlifes dressed as cops break into their palace-in-progress, and the yelling and screaming and gunplay begins. As it happens, this ragtag troupe of outlaws, who seem to be auditioning for parts in another remake of "Last House on the Left," are not entirely unknown to one of the Millers; the sultriest male of their number (Cam Gigandet) is, shocker, one of the guys who helped install the home's security system, and who had a torrid affair with Sarah (or did he?). All of the above "or did"s are layered in, or maybe I ought to say larded in, by screenwriter Karl Gajdusek to fatten up this very thin scenario, and Schumacher and cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak and editor Bill Pankow inexplicably introduce the "clarifying" flashback material via gauzy dissolves, which do little besides making the film laughable in a more novel way. Adding to the whacked-out criminal fun-loving is a quasi-menacing "big guy" (poor Dash Mihok ... remember when he was Alanis Morissette's boyfriend for 20 minutes?) and a female cohort who goes upstairs to smoke crack during much of the main action. It's that kind of movie.
"Man, you coulda saved us all a lot of aggravation," the criminal posse's aforementioned ringleader yells near the film's merciful end. Indeed. Millennium could have saved me and a few of my more unfortunate colleagues similar aggravation had they just went ahead and gone straight to video like we had thought they were gonna do.
Glenn Kenny is chief film critic for MSN Movies. He was the chief film critic for Premiere magazine from 1998 to 2007. He contributes to various publications and websites, and blogs at http://somecamerunning.typepad.com. He lives in Brooklyn.