Potential for a unique comedy, that in the end fails to do so.
“ARMY OF ONE” is the newest comedy from Nicolas Cage, its directed by Larry Charles and stars; Wendi McLendon-Covey and Russell Brand. The story follows Gary Faulkner, a construction worker who is in-and-out of work who receives a message from God telling him to travel to Pakistan to capture Osama Bin Laden since the government has failed to get it done. By going on this solo mission Faulkner will be missing his routine kidney dialysis treatments and begins to have wild hallucinations as side-effects. Also on his journey Faulkner meets a friend from his past, and you cue the dry humor and wildly odd adventures and that pretty much sums up this eccentric comedy.
First; let’s talk about the best thing in this film, Nicolas Cage and his energetic performance. It was his best outing in many years and he was fun to watch in this role. This film does serve as one thing, a reminder to how good of an actor Cage can be when he is trying. He was wild and eccentric, charismatic, and enjoyable in this movie, although at times his personality was a little fatiguing due to how the story tells itself.
This was not a great comedy, but it was very comical at times. The plot of the story was extremely unique but the story told it in a surprisingly dull way. Being based on a true story, either the filmmakers didn’t do enough research, or there simply wasn’t enough story here to fill a run-time. There were some laughable lines, clever dialogue and imagery at times, but the film overall was on the boring side and after about twenty-minutes it gets overly repetitive.
Watching this one I kept thinking ‘where are we going with this’ as the plot circled around itself for much of the middle act on. The chemistry between McLendon-Covey and Cage was decent, it made the most of the writing, but the development of their relationship was too convenient and lacked too much substance. Also, with little backdrop McLendon-Covey’s character felt directionless and just kind of there, having no real point in the story and almost feeling out of place at times despite being Cage’s love interest.
I am usually not a Russell Brand fan but his time was limited which is good for a man where a little goes a long way. He had a fun delivery and the irony of him playing God is amusing on its own. But the normal, more grounded style of humor in the film worked well for him and his performance was a fun addition to this story.
There were a handful of laughable moments, and the premise alone is interesting enough to build some intrigue, but the film could have been fifteen-minutes shorter to tighten up some of the filler scenes if this was as deep as the story wanted to dive in. The story-line could be considered a slow-burner I guess, but it never leads to much of anything and with the pacing it felt much more like time filler.
The result takes a great performance from Cage and makes it wear on you with repetition, seeming to miss the opportunity to explore deeper into this character to help us understand more about who he is, and why his personality was the way it was. “Army of One” did have its moments though despite an over focus on surface level humor. This film sort of plays out like the trailer and while it starts out interesting enough, it does stall out way too early with a story that fails to make you care too much about what happens to the characters.
Time: 92 min
MPAA Rating: R (For language and drug use)