However poorly The Wicker Man performed this weekend (third place, $10 or $11 million), it’s nowhere near as bad as I’d been led to expect. I paid to see it this evening in Syracuse ($40 bucks for the back-and-forth cab ride to the Carousel Mall, $20 for two tickets, $10 or $12 for drinks and popcorn…almost $75 bucks to see The Wicker Man!) and I didn’t come out pissed. I’ve seen much, much worse.
The Wicker Man freaks out a bit and loses its cool at the finale, true, but I liked Nic Cage punching that older butchy woman along with Leelee Sobieski. I laughed, I mean. (I’m not sure that was helmer Neil LaBute‘s desired reaction or not.) And the ending wouldn’t have been nearly as painful if LaBute had just figured some way for Cage not to put on that bear suit and forgotten that epilogue scene.
Otherwise, the first 85% isn’t too bad. It’s not great or exceptional, even, but it putters along and doesn’t piss you off, and LaBute’s dialogue is sharp and aware and contentious. I kept telling myself to imagine the film as a stage performance and imagine how it would play if I were watching it live, and the experiment worked in the film’s favor. No way isMan an all-time clunker and a career embarassment for LaBute and Cage, like you’ve been reading. Most of it somewhere between passable and mildly okay, and overall it’s far from abysmal.