Sonny (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes


Sonny (2002)



Critic Consensus: Sonny is sunk by debuting director Nicolas Cage's evident inability to locate the heart of his movie's story - or properly modulate his cast's performances.

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Movie Info

Film superstar Nicolas Cage's directing debut, Sonny follows a very unconventional family as they struggle to overcome personal and financial adversity. Young Sonny (James Franco) returns home to New Orleans from Army service to find his mother Jewel (Brenda Blethyn), a prostitute, in dire financial straits due to her marketability decreasing exponentially as her age increases. Jewel takes heart at her son's return, however, as she had raised him to be a male prostitute and his mid-'20s vitality should be able to provide a much-needed boost to her family's income -- which until now has primarily been based on Jewel's boyfriend Henry's (Harry Dean Stanton) small-time thievery, as well as the income generated by Jewel's new recruit, Carol (Mena Suvari). Sonny initially scoffs at the thought, having been offered a chance for a legitimate job from his Army buddy (Scott Caan), but when that possibility falls through, Sonny finds he has no choice but to work for his mother.

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James Franco
as Sonny Phillips
Brenda Blethyn
as Jewel Phillips
Josie Davis
as Gretchen
Nicolas Cage
as Acid Yellow
Janet Shea
as Wealthy Woman
Doug Barden
as Maitre D'
Don Yesso
as Waiters
Mark W. Davidson
as Acid Yellow's Thug
Marc Coppola
as Jimmy at Mattie's
Norm Golightly
as Man at Party With Tie
Houston Parker
as Lilly White
Delisha Price
as Mattie's Girl
Monica L. Monica
as Party Lady
Robert Burton
as Man at Door
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News & Interviews for Sonny

Critic Reviews for Sonny

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (11)

Too defensive and earnest about its topic to be either fun or illuminating.

September 17, 2003 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Actors generally make good actor's directors, but Sonny is a mixed bag in that department.

December 27, 2002 | Rating: 2/4
Top Critic

Nicolas Cage isn't the first actor to lead a group of talented friends astray, and this movie won't create a ruffle in what is already an erratic career.

December 27, 2002 | Full Review…
Top Critic

An instant candidate for worst movie of the year.

December 27, 2002 | Rating: 1/4

Earnest and tentative even when it aims to shock.

December 26, 2002 | Rating: 2/5

It is as uncompromising as it is nonjudgmental, and makes clear that a prostitute can be as lonely and needy as any of the clients.

December 26, 2002 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Sonny

I like Nicolas Cage, honestly...for the most part. So, when I heard he directed a film starring James Franco as a male hustler who tries to get out of the life, I figured, "hey, this might be a good, gritty, indie drama". Well, it's not. It's sometimes sleazy and gritty, but it feels undercooked and slightly polished. It's also really draggy asnd boring, which I didn't think was possible. Franco does what he can, and he's okay, but he can't quite save it. Stanton also helps elevate things, but he could have been used a lot more...and better. Suvari was okay, probably the best out of all the ladies here, but even then she's not given much to work with, and her performance isn't all that great. She does have a bit of chemistry with Franco though, and she's nice to look at. Overall, this is a plodding, dull mess. It's also about 20 minutes too long. Avoid.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

It's no secret that Nicolas Cage is incapable of saying no to any script - except he decided to direct this one. Doesn't make it any better.

Marcus Woolcott
Marcus Woolcott

Super Reviewer

Uneven, seemingly indecisive direction from Nicolas Cage leads this potentially affecting film astray. As it stands, it is mildly interesting. The best aspect of it is James Franco, who gives solid evidence of his considerable abilities as an actor.

Mike T.
Mike T.

Super Reviewer

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