Dream Scenario finds the Oscar winner in an unusually restrained mood, playing a boring sad-sack university professor.
Cage’s job is to raise wry smiles and ground an outlandish plot in reality.
There’s no shouting or set shaking as in Pig or Mandy, but his understated performance is just as explosive.
Balding evolutionary biologist Paul Matthews is an ordinary man who finds himself in very extraordinary circumstances. Over a very funny opening 45 minutes, Paul becomes America’s latest talentless celebrity.
This isn’t down to a YouTube channel or a reality show. Paul keeps appearing in people’s dreams, first his family’s, then his students’, then the dreams of strangers all over America.
He makes his debut in nightmares featuring him as a passive, utterly useless observer to disasters involving devastating earthquakes or rampaging alligators.
Paul would like to be doing something a bit more heroic but decides to lean into his newfound infamy by signing up with a PR company.
Michael Cera’s publicist has lined up a deal with a fizzy drink company (if he appears on the internet holding a can of pop, maybe people will wake up wanting a Sprite?). But Paul wants a publishing deal for a book on ants that he hasn’t even started writing.
Then, people start dreaming of being attacked by a psycho Paul. The star is deemed a menace, his wife can’t look at him, and he’s sacked from his job.
As the film turns into a parable about online fame and cancel culture, the laughs begin to dry up. Still, this wildly original and genuinely nightmarish comedy really does stay with you.
Dream Scenario, Cert 15, In cinemas now