(PG12) US. Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina
Following a welcome return to his bug-eyed heyday in Bad Lieutenant, Nicolas Cage again goes for the big-bucks jackpot of the family movie with The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, reuniting with National Treasure director Jon Turteltaub for a breezily entertaining but forgettable magical romp. Cage plays Balthazar Blake, a mage locked in a long war of wills with sleazy, power-hungry warlock Horvath (Molina), until the appearance of bumbling student physicist and natural magician Dave (Baruchel) threatens to tip the balance. Cue training montages, wacky mop-based mishaps and deafening plasma-bolt battles on New York’s streets.
With Cage playing it relatively straight and serious, the show is stolen by moustache-twirling Molina and his David Copperfield-inspired acolyte Drake, essayed with oily glee by Toby Kebbell. But with Baruchel’s likeable lead turn hamstrung by a disastrous romantic subplot, some distinctly non-special effects and a script loaded with blunt expository dialogue, the film casts a superficial and short-lived spell.