Review: “Trespass” – Susan Granger

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Adding little to the timely subgenre of home invasion, this dumb, wannabe thriller revolves around an obviously affluent suburban couple. Kyle Miller (Nicholas Cage) is a fast-talking, double-dealing diamond salesman who evades taxes and pays little attention to his beautiful trophy wife, Sarah (Nicole Kidman), who does her best to mollify their rebellious teenage daughter, Avery (Liana Liberato).

One night, there’s an unexpected call from the security gate that blocks their secluded driveway from two police officers who ask Kyle to assemble all the members of his family in the living room. As he opens the front door, Kyle discovers the cops are actually a gang of intruders who take them hostage as they discuss plans to rob the Millers of all their valuables while spinning a subversive web of deception and ironic betrayal.

The quartet of masked burglars is led by aggressive Elias (Ben Mendelsohn), a money-hungry ex-con. Jonah (Cam Gigandet) is his delusional younger brother, who has been casing the Miller house for a long time and is recognized by Sarah as one of their security guards, much to the dismay of his crack-addicted stripper-girlfriend Petal (Jordana Spiro) who’s far more interested in ransacking Sarah’s lavish closet. Then there’s Ty (Dash Mihok), the ruthless thug who is there to make sure that nothing goes awry.

Screenwriter Karl Gajdusek, director Joel Schumacher, cinematographer Andrzej Bartowiak and production designed Nathan Armondson exploit the national economic downturn, revealing conspicuously unfinished areas of the Miller’s custom-built, steel-and-glass, architecturally perfect, 10,000 sq.-ft. mansion. But the melodramatic action is far too formulaic and familiar to induce either suspense or tension. Worse yet, the dialogue is banal, even ludicrous, evoking unintentional laughter, like when Kyle – with a gun pointed at his head – inquires, “Do you know anything about the etymology of the word ‘diamond’?”

Schumacher previously worked with Cage on “8MM” and Kidman on “Batman Forever,” and Mendelsohn was last seen as a menacing outlaw in “Animal Kingdom.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Trespass” is an intense yet atrocious 3. Pass on it.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.