For Nicolas Cage fans, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is the movie of their dreams. A popcorn throwback to a time when Nick Cage was the star of action vehicles like “Con Air” and “Face/Off.” At this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival, the jury honored Cage with the “40 Years of Massive Talent” award, a nod to his many years of service to the film industry. For better or worse, audiences everywhere have witnessed the rise and fall and slight rise again of Cage’s career, a rollercoaster of outlandish performances mixed with Oscar gold. With this latest effort, Cage invites us into his warped persona to treat us to a comedy adventure full of surprises and hysteria.
When the film opens, a fictionalized version of Nicolas Cage is down on his luck, meeting with a director for a part in a film he desperately wants to play. We quickly see a discouraged Cage, mirroring some of the emotions he has likely played out in real life as his career has taken twists and turns. At his 16-year-old daughter’s birthday party, Cage finds out that he didn’t get the part, and exhibits drunken behavior not fitting of a world class movie star.
At the end of his rope and close to retiring, Cage accepts an offer from a wealthy and mysterious superfan named Javi (Pedro Pascal) to visit Mallorca. Confused by the offer, paranoia sets in fast, but not before the CIA taps the actor to work as an informant. You see, Javi might just be a criminal mastermind who has kidnapped the daughter of a political opponent and it’s up to Nicolas Cage to save the day!
Draped in exaggerated fun, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” starts out as a light spy thriller, but quickly morphs into a buddy comedy turned pop culture popcorn picture. It isn’t as funny as the filmmakers and Cage want it to be, but it’s entertaining at its core. Just like Cage the actor, the film’s premise can’t be taken seriously, but it’s fun to watch. Cage is often seen talking to an imaginary subconscious version of himself named Nicky, as he can’t decide if Javi is friend or foe. In a film that makes fun of itself and Cage’s career at every turn, it’s Pedro Pascal that turns out to be the true scene stealer. Funny and mysterious all at once, Javi is a likable character in a comedy bombarded with Nicholas Cage jokes, impressions, and even an acid trip or two.
Maybe after 40 years of acting, Nick Cage playing himself might just be his most enjoyable role to date.
Ticket rating: 🎟🎟🎟1/2