Nicolas Cage has created quite a reputation for himself over the last few decades. His career turned from arthouse fare in the ’80s to action movie star in the ’90s to a mix of both in the 2000s. Lately, he has been in one weird, off-the-wall film after another. Last year with Pig, he started to get out of the crazy wild movies and get back into films that matter to him and his fan base. With his latest film, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, he takes his entire persona and makes fun of it in a way only he can.
Nick plays a version of himself, a crazy wild version. He is on the verge of getting a big role to turn his career around and get back on track. While trying to do so, he gets an invitation to a birthday party in Spain that pays a million dollars. With his struggles financially and getting good-paying jobs, he reluctantly takes the job and goes to Spain to be the guest of honor for a rich man who’s a big fan of his and his career. While there, he finds out that the man isn’t who he seems, so he gets involved in an investigation by the CIA.
This film takes the idea of what Nick Cage is to his fans and those watching and brings it to the next level. He and the other actors in the film throw out his most iconic and obscure roles left and right. He embraces this role of playing a version of himself wholeheartedly. He goes to levels hitherto unseen before for Nick Cage. That’s saying a lot because he was in Mandy! He drops various quotes and mannerisms he has come to be known for. He even talks about his roles in ways you wouldn’t expect from him but from his fans! He goes all-in on this weird, wacky version of himself, and it’s pretty entertaining to watch.
Along with Nick playing Nick, you have to have a supporting cast playing right along with him on this wild ride. And first and foremost is Pedro Pascal, the rich birthday boy who drags Cage to this exotic location off the coast of Spain. He shows him around, and they have quite the time getting to know each other. Nick realizes why he brought him here and about his infatuation with him and his career. Pascal goes all-in on this character, and he’s really funny. More so than I’ve seen before. Also, the film has Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz as the two CIA agents. These two do their typical comedic turns in these roles supporting the two main stars, Cage and Pascal.
Tom Gormican, the director, and Kevin Etten wrote this script with love — it’s obvious to me. They truly and wholeheartedly care about Cage and his long, storied career, warts and all. That being said, the story as a whole was a little shallow. Trying to figure a plot around the whole Nick Cage being Nick Cage thing couldn’t have been easy. They tried their best. The filmmaking style and cinematography were fantastic, though by Nigel Bluck and Gormican. They took this beautiful place and made it look great on screen.
I’ve lost a lot of faith in Nick Cage over the last decade or so of his career. Even though he made some good choices like Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Color out of Space, and Pig that showed he still had talent, many of his roles have left me wanting better from him. This film about him making fun of himself and his persona might be the best thing he’s done in a while. The fact that he embraced the wild and wacky side of his persona couldn’t have been easy for him. He was once a very respected actor in Hollywood and could be once again after this film comes out to the masses. He goes all in, and I loved every minute of it. Bravo to you, Nick, for taking such a risky move!
4 1/2 stars
Dan Skip Allen
Sean Borlman Founder/EIC disappointment media