Matchstick Men

Director: Ridley Scott
Year Released: 2003
Rating: 2.0

Nicolas Cage, sporting some obnoxious Tourette-like tics and obsessive habits (like eating tuna fish every meal and worrying about his carpet), meets up with his long-lost daughter (the ridiculously youthful looking Alison Lohman) who he slowly introduces to his shady job as a con man. The carefree mood of the beginning can't support the significantly darker third act, as the script and its various machinations torture the fragile, unstable Cage and the breezy, jazzy California vibe becomes ominous and bitter. The commentary on Cage's neurosis groaningly suggests that mental illness is something created out of guilt and that once one starts living a more respectable lifestyle he/she will gain a better grip on his/her life and lose all those annoying facial gestures and impulsive noises - that emotional fragility can just 'go away,' that it's psychosomatic. The supermarket scenes, in retrospect, don't make much sense, and the whole Grand Scheme is just too elaborate and flimsy to be plausible. Goes down easy, but try not to think.