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film review

Nicolas Cage in Mom and Dad.

There likely isn't a mother or father alive who hasn't once uttered the words, "I could just kill you," in a fit of parental frustration. What Brian Taylor's thoroughly nasty new film Mom and Dad proposes is a literal extension of those momentary lapses, with an unexplained television signal sending parents across America into a bloodthirsty rage directed at their offspring.

Writer-director Taylor is best known for the delightfully bonkers Crank films with Mark Neveldine (and the should've-been-bonkers Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance), but here, flying solo for the first time, he confuses mayhem for profundity.

Mom and Dad's insights include: Hey, isn't suburbia boring? And, man, why are teenagers so mean? These revelations are sprinkled with violence that is disturbing but mostly bloodless, with Taylor only testing his own self-imposed limits. By this point in his career, star Nicolas Cage does crazy like no one else, but his descent into insanity here – not too far from how his character acts at the beginning of the film, really – can't elevate Taylor's juvenile take on adulthood.

Mom and Dad opens Feb. 23

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