When you get down to it, this film ain’t much more than a corny melodrama. Still, it’s a really involving, deeply sweet film that just makes you feel good. Is that really a wrong thing? We meet Tess Carlisle, a former First Lady who’s now living as a recluse. She has a whole team of Special Agents for her protection. One of them is Doug Chesnic. The man hates his job. It’s like, he was trained to be a Secret Agent, and he’s stuck in a chickenpoop village guarding a difficult old lady. The film is mostly about how he’ll realize that she ain’t such a bitch and that he has affection for her.
Cute, ain’t it? But the film has has a little edginess in Nic Cage, who stars as the Special Secret Agent in Charge. He plays a man who always go by the book and who’s got lots of anger. I love the way he acts when he’s pissed. Even though it’s a mostly calm film, there a few really fun confrontations, as well as a cool twist that leads the plot to more tension. If Cage is mostly restrained yet likable, he’s downright awesome during these scenes. Just watch out for that scene in the hospital with the chauffeur.
“Guarding Tess” is part of what Cage calls his Sunshine Trilogy, along with the Bergman comedies “Honeymoon in Vegas” and “It Could Happen to You”. All these are sweet films with happy endings. Many people find that corny, but I don’t. Why should every film be about how life sucks? We don’t need violence and cruelty in every movie we see. Like Cage one says, there is too much cynicism in the movies these days. Hence, he tries to make some feel-good films, like in the good old days of Frank Capra. Trust me, these films are way enjoyable.