The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Nicolas Cage plays, well, Nicolas Cage in this smart, knowing and supremely funny parody of the iconic screen star’s larger-than-life persona.
Nic Cage – the fictional character – has reached a low point in his career. The great roles have dried up, so he’s accepting anything that passes across his agent’s desk. But his daughter (Lily Sheen) feels there’s something else going on; he’s addicted to screen acting, and his real and fictional lives have melded into one strange, wildly eccentric persona. Their therapy sessions together only highlight Cage’s level of confusion between his on and off-screen worlds. But things get crazier when a wealthy fan, Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal), offers Cage $1 million to hang out with him. Cage accepts and even enjoys the adulation Gutierrez showers upon him. But the revelation that his benefactor is an arms dealer causes him anguish and an approach made by two CIA agents (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz) leave Cage wondering whether he should take on a new role – that of a super-spy.
Before Marvel and Facebook laid claim to the Meta-verse, Cage had already cornered the market with his performances. Knowingly over-the-top, veering between wild theatrics and heart-worn emotion, Cage succeeded in creating role after role that allowed us to laugh at his OTT behaviour while simultaneously rooting for him. Writer-director Tom Gormican channels those gifts, giving the actor the opportunity to out-Cage himself. It’s to Pascal’s credit that he gives a performance as ripe as his co-star. But neither are at the expense of our engagement with the story. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent might sound absurdly silly. That’s because it is. But it’s a joy to see a B-movie take on more highbrow fare like Adaptation and Being John Malkovich, delivered with panache by a star with a natural gift for flamboyance.