Nicolas Cage’s career has seen him playing a host of memorable characters and even his most recent films’ primary success has been primarily due to his commitment as an actor and his overwhelming onscreen and off-screen persona. Therefore it’s not a stretch of the mind to consider Nic Cage as a character of his own story, and this becomes the reality in the new action-comedy film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.
Director and co-writer Tom Gormican casts Cage as a fictionalized version of himself, struggling in his personal life with his ex-wife Sally (Sharon Horgan) and daughter Addy (Lily Sheen), and in the middle of a career crisis with massive debts to pay. Enter stalker-fan Javi (Pedro Pascal) who offers Nic, through his agent Ted (Neil Patrick Harris), the chance to appear at his birthday party in Mallorca, Spain for $1 million.
Given his desperate circumstances, he accepts and flies to Spain before learning that Javi may have been involved in the kidnapping of a politician’s daughter from the CIA stationed on the island (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz). Suddenly Nic needs to tap into his acting skills for the ultimate role – a spy.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is excellent because it seamlessly navigates different genres. It’s an action flick, a comedy, self-referential, and at the heart of its success is Cage and Pascal, a duo made in heaven. Their buddy chemistry is the best part of the story and they play off each other so easily.
Things really go to the next level when Javi and Nic agree to write a script for a Hollywood blockbuster that seems to closely resemble the movie playing out in front of you…But that’s enough spoilers for now.
Cage’s characterisation of himself is a highlight of the film, as he evokes past caricatures of himself and plays empathetic and passionate to an equal degree. His vulnerability in also taking this role on is worth the ticket admission alone. But Pascal is an equal force in the film, he becomes the character and the film cements him as a bonafide movie star with huge career growth still to come. His reactions and moments are some of the best parts of the film.
However, the film’s inability to subvert the very tropes it mocks means it sometimes lends too heavily on CGI and weak dialogue as a crutch. Characters outside the main two are underdeveloped and many of the actors and actresses are underutilized. But if you can look past these small issues, you’re in forn the time of your life.