The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
People: Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, Tiffany Haddish
Where: In cinemas now
Nicolas Cage has been in the film industry so long that audiences kind of take him for granted.
Even in a time when one-off movies have given way to billion-dollar franchises and cinematic universes, he’s stuck around far longer than many stars who started working in Hollywood around the same time he did.
In the current cinematic landscape, it’s difficult for any movie that doesn’t fit into this mould to gain success. This is unfortunate, because Cage’s most recent movie, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, is the kind of cinematic experience that reminds audiences of why Cage has endured for so long.
Nic Cage plays Nick Cage, a down-on-his-luck actor navigating the 21st century film industry, where formulaic action movies reign supreme.
Cage accepts a million-dollar deal to appear at a fan’s birthday party on the Spanish island of Majorca, where he ends up embroiled in a government plot, with Vivian (Tiffany Haddish) and Martin (Ike Barinholtz) guiding him along the way.
He must even contend with the possibility that the threat he’s tracking down for the government could be his fan, billionaire Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal).
Aside from having a hilarious title, this movie encapsulates the kind of off-beat, esoteric sense of humour that Cage regularly uses, and borrows many details from his real life and career.
He tries his best to connect with his daughter through the century-old The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a favourite movie of Cage’s in real life, and he is intermittently visited by a de-aged version of himself named Nicky, modelled after his look in an infamous Wild at Heart interview from 1990.
The movie’s biggest strength is the chemistry between Cage and Pascal. Of course, most moviegoers will be going to see Cage giving a quintessentially Nic Cage performance, but Pascal possibly outshines him as the relentlessly charming Javi.
Cage and Pascal are different in many ways, and whenever they butt heads, comedy gold abounds. Haddish and Barinholtz are also entertaining, and they work well with both each other and Cage.
It’s also important to acknowledge how heart-warming the movie is when the two characters bond over their shared love of film. The scene when Javi shows Nick Paddington 2 for the first time is a lovely and hilarious moment, but the best scene of the movie concerns an acid trip they take while having a day on the town.
Check this movie out if you can. Even in its weaker moments, it’s an unabashed good time and, after all, that’s why people love Nic Cage in the first place.
If someone is unfamiliar with his previous work, this movie might fly over their heads, but the added confusion might make the whole experience even more humorous and inexplicable.