Director Kristoffer Borgli’s first Hollywood movie is, in some ways, a replica of his Norweigan shocker “Sick of Myself”. It starts out really well but then runs out of ideas. Nicholas Cage gives one of his best performances as biology professor and evolutionary specialist Paul Matthews who starts to inexplicably appear in the dreams of the people around him, first as a bystander who likes to watch and then, as his dream persona evolves, into a Freddy Kreuger avenger or, in one particular instance, a lothario. Initially he becomes a minor celebrity – a sort of meme, if you like – only to have society turn on him when his onieric activities become more sinister.
This is Cage in Charlie Kauffman mode mixed with a bit of Paul Giamatti,and there are some funny and touching scenes with the always-excellent Juliannne Nicholson as his wife, Michael Cera, who does a nice cameo as an image consultant, and Dylan Gelula as Cera’s coworker whose erotic restaurant table conversation with Cage is the film’s high point
Unfortunately, just like “Sick of Myself” Borgli just cannot keep the ideas flowing. There are too many scenes straight out of Bunuel’s famously scathing “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” in which dreams keep intruding on the dinner plans of the wealthy. Gradually, you feel this movie has been stolen.