Remember back in my Moonstruck review when I said that afterwards Cage stayed well away from romantic films? Unfortunately, City of Angels attempts to prove me wrong, with very unnerving results. City of Angels, a remake of the German film Wings of Desire, begins with an immensely creepy shot of Nicolas Cage watching a sick child, who he soon abducts. “Can Mommy come?” the girl asks. “No,” Cage serenely replies, and leads her off into the distance. But no need to panic - he’s actually an angel. Honest.
Aside from abducting kids, angels apparently spend most of their time swanning around Los Angeles in dark trenchcoats, striding along rooftops and watching sunsets on the beach. Angel Cage is content with administering invisible backrubs to strangers until he falls predictably in love with Meg Ryan’s surgeon and proceeds to devotedly stalk her. Sometimes he makes himself visible, woos her with romantic lines like “Are you in despair?” and then vanishes again so he can watch her bathe and feel her up. But it’s romantic, because he’s in love! And she likes him anyway, because he stares into her soul, and because this is a terrible movie.
At this point, you may still be considering watching City of Angels, if only for comedy value. Do not succumb to temptation, because doing so will mean suffering the exceptionally nauseating sex scene (Ryan: “Do you feel that? Tell me what that feels like.” Cage: “Warm. Aching.” Me: “Bluuuueggghk!”) Furthermore, the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” is part of the soundtrack. The film’s tragic yet uplifting conclusion, while unintentionally hilarious, cannot compensate for those two crimes against the senses.
Ryan does her best with the material, but she and Cage lack chemistry, and Cage himself is so hopelessly miscast that his presence in the City of Angels is flat-out baffling. If I were to reorder the dictionary in terms of relevance to Nicolas Cage, “angelic” would probably be in the final pages, sandwiched between “pulchritudinous” and “consistency”. Despite the film’s most saccharine efforts, the endless close-ups of his watery, staring eyes fail miserably to inspire any faith in heaven and the divine. However, I am now convinced there is a hell.