Nicolas Cage has not had a great time over the years. Once one of the most bankable stars, after dodgy business deals and outrageous spending, Cage has been reduced to taking every job offered to repay his debt. Now he is clear, he can start to focus on getting back to the top of his game, and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent could be the first step in the right direction. So if you are going to reboot your career, why not play yourself? This film is a barrel full of insanity and easily the most entertaining movie so far.
Nick Cage is going through a difficult time and struggles to get the roles he wants, and his relationship between his ex-wife and teenage daughter is on the rocks. He gets offered $1 million to travel to Mallorca to attend the birthday party of superfan Javi. However, the CIA has Javi in their sights as a possible suspect of kidnapping a politician’s daughter. Having Cage inside Javi’s fortress, the CIA decide to get him to become their eyes and ears to bring Javi down.
This is a cinephile’s dream. A film brimming with references and in-jokes to not only Nicolas Cage’s movies (and almost every film he’s made is mentioned) but other movies from The Cabinet of Dr Caligari to Paddington 2 (in a hilarious scene). Co-writer and director Tom Gormican loves films, and it shows. Having said that, this isn’t just a film for film fans. It is full of humour that hits the target more often than misses.
As well as movie in-jokes, the plot is ludicrous. It’s as if Gormican has said: What would Cage do? Throwing the actor into a kidnapping plot with the CIA using him to discover where the missing girl is, puts Nick in various dangerous situations. These bring out some hilarious moments, including a chase scene where the conversation turns to types of shoes and a sequence in which Cage and Javi take LSD and suffer from total paranoia.
The film also offers much more than just straight out laughs. It’s a bromance between an actor and a fan, which is surprisingly touching, and how insecure actors can be about almost everything. Cage losing the love and respect of his daughter leads to some home truths that he has to accept. For the most part, this is a self-deprecating mocking of a movie star’s own career by the very man who is being mocked.
Those who want to see Nicolas Cage being Nicolas Cage will not be disappointed. He is in magnificent form, allowing us to enjoy every inch of his over-the-top performance, in some places getting twice the amount of Cage-ness as he has an imaginary version of himself from his Wild At Heart days, called Nicky. But, for those unfamiliar with the actor, this is a beautiful chance to enjoy what we all know and love about him.
The supporting cast is terrific too. As Cage’s ex-wife, Sharon Horgan is wonderfully funny, and even Tiffany Haddish as the CIA agent isn’t as annoying as she usually is. Yet Cage has met his match in Pedro Pascal as Javi. The Mandalorian star manages to be just as bonkers as the lead and what we get is one of the best double acts in years. So when the pair are bantering or sharing their favourite movies, you find yourself longing for more. If Cage isn’t enough for you to go see this, then Pascal should seal the deal.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a blast from start to finish. A funny, sharply written comedy adventure that allows plenty of room for Cage and Pascal to let loose. Who knew that this was the movie we really needed right now.
4 out of 5
Director: Tom Gormican
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, Tiffany Haddish, Sharon Horgan, Paco Leon, Neil Patrick Harris, Lily Sheen
Written by Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten
Running Time: 107 mins
Release date: 22nd April 2022