“You Mean My Wang?”: ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’ Review

Posted in Screening Room by - August 04, 2016
“You Mean My Wang?”: ‘Peggy Sue Got Married’ Review

I’m no fan of Nic Cage, and I’ve been dreading this month from the get-go. There, I said it. However, any goodwill that Nic Cage had garnered from me with his fantastic performance in Raising Arizona has completely gone out the window with his performance in the downright dreadful Peggy Sue Got Married. The film on its own is a dull time travel affair that is in the vein of Back to the Future which came only one year before. To say that I was shocked that Francis Ford Coppola directed the film would be an understatement considering his filmography is filled with cinema classics.

The film tells the story of Peggy Sue, a woman recently separated from her high school beau Charlie, who is magically teleported back in time to her senior year of high school on the evening of her 25-year high school reunion. Once in the past, she begins to reassess her life choices and tries to change the future to prevent herself from falling in love with Charlie (Nic Cage) all over again. However, that proves tougher than she expected as he doggedly courts her throughout the film, even as she tries to get two other suitors to fall in love with her. She also reconnects with her family and her long-deceased grandparents who help her return to her own time. If the plot of the film sounds like a derivative Back to the Future, then you’d be right.

The performances range from average to downright grating. Kathleen Turner is serviceable as the titular character, but she lacks any real depth of character. For the first twenty minutes of the film all she does is bad mouth Charlie but then ends up with him again at the movie’s conclusion. Her arc is more of a circle since she ends up at the same point she started at the beginning of the film. Without any real character motivation or growth, she feels stagnant and dull throughout the entirety of the film which is disappointing since there was clearly an interesting character buried beneath the mediocrity.

Cage, however, is downright abysmal as the bombastic appliance salesperson Charlie. His voice is grating and nasally throughout which was perplexing choice for the character. Whining and acting childish during the anterior portions which doesn’t ingratiate him to the audience rather causing palpable discomfort when he’s on-screen. As a 22-year-old man, he is tasked with portraying a horny teen but he thoroughly and completely misses the mark. He’s just not believable and having a high-pitched voice does not a teenager make. This overacting is one of the reasons that I have personally stayed away from 90% of his films; he has no off switch. Even as great as the “wang” scene is, it still makes me cringe to hear him using that absurd voice.

The film suffers from not being able to blend the dramatic and comedic elements successfully. One minute Peggy is talking about Charlie’s “throbbing thrill hammer,” the next she is attempting to have a heartfelt conversation with her grandparents about what kept them together. Neither tones work very well separately but together is even worse. It’s clearly going for dramedy, but it ends up being both aggressively unfunny and sappy. Most of the blame lies with first-time screenwriting couple Leichtling and Sarner who lack the polish and focus of more veteran writers. They focus more on aping BttF and less on trying to tell a compelling story.

Peggy Sue Got Married does nothing to change my feelings on the illustrious Nic Cage except to cement his inability to restrain himself as an actor. It’s not necessary to always give 150% when 50% is needed, but Cage refuses to see the point in under acting. It works sometimes, but most of the time, it comes off as silly and even grating. Unfortunately, the film does so little else right that Cage’s performance ends up being the focal point throughout. It’s a mess of a film that tries to have a message about forgiveness and true love but fails to hit the mark completely.

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Chris Stachiw is the Editor-in-Chief and co-host of the Kulturecast. He's a native Californian with a penchant for sarcasm and a taste for the cinematic bizarre. You'll often find him wandering the wasteland of Nebraska searching for the meaning of life and possibly another rare Pokemon.
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