Released: 21st April
Seen: 24th April
Nicolas Cage is one of the most fascinating actors in modern history, with one of the wildest resumes you will ever find. He’s gone from mega-blockbusters like the National Treasure franchise to little weird indie films like Mandy and all the while he has developed a reputation of being able to commit completely to a film no matter how weird or bad it might be (Say what you will about his performance in Wicker Man, Cage did not half-ass it). He’s an Oscar winner and an absolute legend of the art form and has the kind of notoriety that makes him great fodder for comedy… and in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Nicolas Cage decides that if anyone’s going to make jokes about him then Cage is going to do them better than anyone.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent presents us with a hypothetical Nic Cage (Nicolas Cage) who is massively in debt, divorced and barely able to relate to his daughter Addy (Lily Mo Sheen) no matter how hard he tries. In a moment of severe self-doubt, Nic considers quitting the acting business and retiring but an offer comes in that might relieve him of his financial worries, all he had to do is attend the birthday party of one Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal) on an island and he’ll get a million bucks.
Seems simple enough… until Nic is pulled aside by the CIA who inform him that Javi is a crime boss who has stolen a foreign diplomat’s daughter and in order to find her, Nic Cage will have to use his massive talent to become a superspy and save the day in a manner so heroic that it might as well come right out of a Nicolas Cage movie.
When it comes to actors playing themselves there seem to be two ways to do it, the first is the self-aggrandising way where the actor is presented as the pinnacle of perfection (Think something like Sia’s cameo in Music where she portrays herself as the only good drug buying celebrity). The second kind would be self-deprecating where the actor just spends their entire appearance tearing their image to shreds (Think Jennifer Tilly in Seed of Chucky or literally everyone in This Is The End).
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent has Nic Cage do a combination of the two, playing up his considerable accolades and works as something important while also throwing out occasional moments that really play on the public perceptions of him. From how we have historically talked about his over acting to just how many films he seems to do, the film knows the jokes that’ve been made about Nic Cage over the years and either tops them or actually explores them in a way that lets you further inside Nic’s head.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent lives by the creed of “you only roast the ones you love” and takes every chance to show that love, indeed that love of Cage is in every pore of the movie. You can see it in the eyes of everyone who sees him, the film knows it’s playing around with a legend and never crosses the line into being cruel. It’s mostly just being silly, playing around with the pomposity of artists or taking a situation that might happen in a Nic Cage film and adding a realistic twist to it that just makes for a film you can’t help but laugh at constantly. If you’re a superfan of Cage then you’re going to get so much out of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent but even as a cursory fan who might only know a few of his films would get something out of this, it’s crafted well enough that any level of Cage fandom can get some joy out of this.
The one slight downside is a silly detail but in a meta-story about a major celebrity, it is a little weird seeing other fairly big-name celebrities playing these non-celebrity roles. People like Neil Patrick Harris, Tiffany Haddish or Pedro Pascal are big enough names that they’d probably turn up in an average Nicolas Cage film anyway, hell they’ve certainly been in films that came out around the same time as his so it’s certainly a little jarring so you have to be ready to buy into a world where those celebrities don’t exist which can take a moment, though once you get over that hurdle you’re in safe hands again.
In general, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a hilarious love letter to one of the biggest stars of all time. Witty, silly and constantly doing something new, the film has something in it that’s bound to delight everyone while also just showing off what an undeniable superstar Nic Cage is. Be it current Cage or classic Cage, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent celebrates all of it in a way that’s as wild and bombastic as the man himself