Nicolas Cage may not make ’em like he used to, but he is still making ’em in Las Vegas.
The man who went skydiving over the Strip with the Flying Elvises in “Honeymoon in Vegas,” drank himself to death in “Leaving Las Vegas” and survived a crash landing into the Sands in “Con Air” is back as a dirty Las Vegas cop in “The Trust,” debuting Friday digitally and on-demand.
Cage, who moved to the valley in 2012, stars as Jim Stone, a sad-sack lieutenant in charge of Metro’s evidence management. When he comes across paperwork detailing a drug dealer’s release on a $200,000 cash bond, Stone grows suspicious and enlists a subordinate, Sgt. David Waters (Elijah Wood), to trail him.
When that dealer — referred to in the credits as “Drug Dealer” — leads them to a stash house and a new state-of-the-art vault, Stone and Waters set out to relieve that vault of its contents.
Things do not go according to plan.
As a movie, the debut feature from writers Ben Brewer and Adam Hirsch, directed by Ben and Alex Brewer, isn’t much. Although as things deteriorate from dark comedy to simply dark, the trio do manage to elicit a few didn’t-see-that-comings.
“The Trust” generated some headlines when Jerry Lewis was cast, in just his fourth onscreen appearance since 1995’s “Funny Bones,” as Stone’s father. Alas, he’s only around for 30 seconds.
Cage, meanwhile, unleashes enough gonzo, out-of-left-field line readings to remind you of better days. He also scarfs down a lemon slice covered in hot sauce. Why? Because he’s Nicolas Frickin’ Cage. That’s why.
Where “The Trust” really works, though, is as a bonkers tour of off-the-beaten-path Las Vegas.
Stone and Waters meet for drinks amid the neon of The Peppermill’s Fireside Lounge, and Stone briefly goes undercover to keep tabs on their target during his day job at the Riviera. Those are far and away the most recognizable and upscale locations you’ll see in “The Trust.”
Waters follows the drug dealer home via the monorail. Seriously, what self-respecting drug dealer rides the monorail?
The vault is located in the back of the Red Apple Market, 1109 Stewart Ave., the name and address of which are prominently displayed in a note.
And, in an even stranger bit of product placement, Stone rhapsodizes about Pop’s Philly Steaks, 501 S. Decatur Blvd., while watching surveillance video from the restaurant. “Isn’t that that sandwich shop on Decatur? The one that makes the cheesesteaks? Man, that place is delicious!”
Later, when Stone and Waters take a break from drilling down through an apartment floor into the vault, they dine on a couple of sandwiches from Pop’s.
If you’re willing to spend more time than necessary committing numerous felonies while increasing your chances of being discovered by either your fellow officers, a dangerous criminal syndicate or both, all so one of you can drive five miles each way and stand in line for sandwiches, they’d better be worth raving about.
Unfortunately, they’re pretty much the only things in “The Trust” that can make that claim.
Movie: “The Trust”
Running time: 91 minutes
Rating: R; violence, language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use
Where: debuting Friday digitally and on-demand