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Review: Willy’s Wonderland

Updated: Feb 26, 2023

In Willy’s Wonderland, Nicolas Cage plays a badass, taciturn janitor forced to spend the night cleaning a Chuck E. Cheese style family restaurant while battling possessed animatronic mascots—and really, that should tell you everything you need to know about the film’s artistic ambitions and overall quality. Cage has become a genre in and of himself at this point in his career, and he’s embraced his status as a living meme wholeheartedly. Here, he manages to ham it up without uttering a single line of dialogue—an Oscar-worthy achievement in overacting. His unironic commitment to the otherwise underdeveloped role elevates the thinly-written material, more than compensating for the clunky screenplay, cheap visual effects, and lackluster fight choreography. Honestly, his performance probably singlehandedly redeems the entire movie; the character wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining had he been played by, for example, Sharknado's Ian Ziering or some other SyFy Channel veteran. Cage simply delivers the perfect blend of zany camp and genuine gravitas; he is the sovereign of schlock, the king of critical flops, the Olivier of box office bombs—a true treasure of trash cinema.

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