The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2010)
Main cast: Nicholas Cage (Balthazar Blake), Jay Baruchel (Dave), Alfred Molina (Maxim Horvath), Teresa Palmer (Becky Barnes), Toby Kebbell (Drake Stone), Omar Benson Miller (Bennet), Alice Krige (Morgana le Fay), and Monica Bellucci (Veronica)
Director: Jon Turteltaub
The Sorcerer's Apprentice features Nicholas Cage, which should be a warning that this movie is going to be as awful as that man's last two hundred films. It is a warning that I should have heeded, although in this instance, it is Jay Baruchel, not Mr Cage, that makes this film as fun to watch as it is to sit on shards of broken glass.
Once upon a time, Merlin has three apprentices: Balthazar Blake, Maxim Horvath, and Veronica. Veronica doesn't have a last name because she's a woman and therefore serves no purpose in this movie other than to be the love interest that tears the friendship of Blake and Maxim apart. Anyway, Maxim is bitter because he looks like Alfred Molina and he lacks the dashing unwashed-looking bangs of his rival, and therefore he betrays Merlin to Merlin's greatest nemesis, Morgana le Fay. Balthazar and Veronica arrive to see those two villains fell Merlin and steal a page featuring a powerful spell from Merlin's magic book. Morgana almost blasts Balthazar to bits when Veronica saves him by absorbing Morgana's soul into her body. Balthazar is forced to trap both Veronica and Morgana into a "Grim Hold", a nesting doll thing.
He then spends centuries roaming Asia and other continents for the "Prime Merlinian", a kid who can wear Merlin's ring and therefore be groomed to become Merlin's next successor. He conveniently forgets that no non-White people not named Denzel Washington can headline a mainstream Hollywood movie, so he wastes his time until a White kid, Dave, shows up at the doorstep of his magic shop. Dave can wear the ring, but before Balthazar can do anything more with him, Maxim breaks free from the Grim Hold. Let the party begin.
What, did I say "party"? Mr Cage and the rest of the cast, including Monica Bellucci who appears for a total screen time of fifteen minutes, play their roles pretty well. Nicholas Cage will always be Nicholas Cage, but he does imbue Balthazar with an appropriate air of tragic nobility. Alfred Molina pretty much steals this movie with his effortless portrayal of comic villainy.
It is Jay Baruchel that makes this movie completely unwatchable. He is so out of place in this movie, it's a wonder how he manages to make it past the casting department. He plays Dave more like a mentally handicapped dork than a geek, what with his spastic facial tics and the "Look, ma! I am special!" way he slurs and enunciates his lines. The movie turns Dave into a hateful whiner rather than lovable geek because that's what Dave does in this movie: whine, whine, whine about how he wants to sleep with a hot babe that he insists is his love of a lifetime. Dave manages to pull some powerful magic out of his rear end to save the day, but to get to that point, he acts like the unfunny spastic kid of David Spade and Pauly Shore. Mr Baruchel's acting style worked when he was in cartoons and slapstick comedies, but The Sorcerer's Apprentice does not need a lead actor who seems to think that he is in an Austin Powers sequel. Not to mention, Mr Baruchel looks his age and therefore he comes off as a very old-looking college kid indeed.
The script meanders and fizzles out into an anticlimatic confrontation with Morgana le Fay, with too much focus given to the shallow and chemistry-free "romance" between Dave and Becky Barnes. Becky, like Veronica, serves no purpose on this show other than being a love interest, with an occasional patronizing moment when she gets to help the good guys before withdrawing back into her Shallow Love Interest role. Still, The Sorcerer's Apprentice would have been a mere mediocre and forgettable movie were not for Mr Baruchel's Special Olympics home run style of acting that elevated the movie from being wretched to being absolutely putrid.
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