For all of Joel Schumacher’s cinematic transgressions (putting nipples on the Batsuit, that one shirtless sax player in The Lost Boys, The Number 23, etc.), there’s always been something endearing about the boundless energy that the director brings to every project, imbuing doofy comedies, Brat-pack reunions, and courtroom dramas with the same level of just-happy-to-be-here enthusiasm. Of the many invectives that can be hurled at his films, dull has never been one of them.
Well, until now, anyway. Trespass, Schumacher’s 27th film, feels like the first time that the director has ever been guilty of just calling it in, delivering what could have been a promisingly skuzzy home invasion film with a near-to-complete lack of brio. I never thought I'd say this about a Schumacher project, but this thing could use some neon.
Set almost entirely within a Louisiana McMansion, the story follows a down-on-his-luck diamond merchant (a marble-mouthed Nicolas Cage, wearing what appears to be Sean Penn’s hair and wardrobe from Carlito’s Way) whose frustrated wife (Nicole Kidman, elsewhere) and daughter are threatened when a gang of thugs burst in looking for the combination of his safe. TV vet Karl Gajdusek’s script offers a few hints of going somewhere odd, particularly when dealing with the fractured relationship between lead bad guys Cam Gigandet and Animal Kingdom’s Ben Mendelsohn, but quickly retreats to standard levels of broken glass and Mexican standoffs. Devotees of Cage going goofy may find a few things to chuckle at (the amount of punishment the actor receives here approaches Wil E. Coyote levels), but Trespass otherwise feels like a fugitive from straight-to-video land, with cast and crew wading grimly through material way below their pay grade. Somewhere, Lorenzo Lamas is breathing a sigh of relief.