Lately, it seems various actors have been going through career resurrections. A few years ago, Matthew McConaughey hit a second wind with his career, shortly after so did Michael Keaton. I’m predicting the same trend is about to continue with none other than Nicolas Cage himself. “Why?” you ask, well, because in the movie Mom and Dad “the Cage” has now become self-aware… and it is glorious!
The film reunites Cage with Brian Taylor (co-director of Crank), who previously collaborated with the actor on Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Just like that film, Taylor knew exactly how to use the manic side of Cage, only this time it’s an arguably better film.
In Mom and Dad, Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair are a married couple raising two children. As the film begins everything is normal– kids getting ready for school, parents heading to work, and it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. That is until for some strange reason, parents worldwide begin attempting to kill their own children everywhere. Nothing is really explained as far as the cause of their violent madness, but for whatever reason, the old generation has it out for their offspring. Now, knowing all this information, sprinkle Nicolas Cage into this insane premise and imagine for yourself the end result.
Just like Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Nicolas Cage goes full batshit Cage almost to the point of self-parody. I can watch an entire film of Cage slamming a sledgehammer on furniture while singing the “Hokey Pokey” all damn day. Brian Taylor’s frenetic trashy style of filmmaking seems like a match made in heaven for Cage’s personality. They blend together explosively like mentos inside a diet coke.
Depending on how you feel about some of these aspects this film will either be a great or terrible experience. It’s very over-the-top, messy, and choppy with editing. This is all very deliberate because it’s supposed to have a grindhouse energy to its presentation. Also, just like most grindhouse films, it pushes on the edge of controversial and shock value. One scene, in particular, will have people on edge involving a delivery room. It’s a brilliant scene, but one that will be a litmus test of whether you are still in the film after it’s over.
With all that said, this film has more to say than previous efforts by Brian Taylor. Beneath the horrific and violent surface is an interesting social commentary on what parenting does to people. Cage’s character is frustrated because he feels like he used to be someone with the entire world ahead of him. Selma Blair does an amazing job here as well displaying the same struggles, only through the first half of the film she’s at odds trying to have respect for her daughter. This is basically Lady Bird if Laurie Metcalf spent the last thirty minutes of the movie trying to kill Saoirse Ronan.
I was not expecting to like Mom and Dad as much as I did, but this movie is just nuts in such a magnificent way. I’m one of the few people who actually liked Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance because it was so self-aware in how terrible it was. I’m now more confident than ever that film was no accident and Brian Taylor knew what we all knew all along… Nicolas Cage is at his best when you just let him go flipping mad. It’s trashy, violent, hilarious, and most of all it has Nicolas Cage going full psychopath in hilarious fashion. What more can you ask for?