Don’t pass up this absolute gem.
Nic Cage gave us some of the best action movies of all time (The Rock, Con Air, Face/Off) and incredible dramas (Leaving Las Vegas, Bringing Out The Dead, Matchstick Men), and with his new movie The unbearable weight of massive talenthe delivered perhaps the best comedy of his career.
It’s odd, because Cage has delivered some of the best movies of his career in recent years – Pig, Mandy, Color Out Of Space, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – but he’s also helmed a string of releases. which absolutely no one has ever heard of.
At a glance, which of these titles is a fake title for a recent Cage movie? Kill Chain, A Score To Settle, Jiu Jitsu, Pay The Ghost, Running With The Devil. Trick question, these are all Cage movies that have been released in the last five years or so, and we haven’t heard of any of them.
And the thing is, even in most of these horrible movies, Cage himself is still interesting to watch. Sure, he seems to know which movies deserve his full Cage-ness and which ones are more likely to help him with his year-end bank balances, but he never really phones it.
It’s this brilliant dichotomy that sits at the center of his new film, in which he plays ‘Nick Cage’, the somewhat faded but still fantastically talented Hollywood star who plays with the idea of retiring from Hollywood altogether when his agent (Neil Patrick Harris) tells him that a super fan of Javi (Pedro Pascal) in Spain is willing to pay him $1 million just to attend his birthday party.
Initially offended by the idea of such a deal, Nick realizes he hasn’t done a big movie in a while and is living in an expensive hotel after his wife (Sharon Horgan) and daughter (Lily Sheen, real-life daughter of Kate Beckinsale) kicked him out of their family home because he was, well, a bit too much.
So, needing the cash, Nick travels to Mallorca and soon realizes he may have found a new best friend in movie buff Javi, only for Nick to then be cornered by two CIA agents (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz), who inform her that her new boyfriend is actually the head of an international crime syndicate and one of the most dangerous men in the world…
Of course, Nick finds it incredibly hard to believe that Javi could be a danger to anyone – and Pescal plays the character perfectly in that he’s a lovable man who crushes a second and a potential psychopath the next – but just to be sure, he offers to help Javi write a screenplay that could potentially be based on their own budding friendship.
Through this, we get an incredible journey through Cage’s own real-life career – so many of his movies are fact-checked or directly referenced throughout, while Cage’s own inner monologue is actually a conversation with his own younger self from Wild At Heart, complete with long hair and a penchant for loudly lengthening specific words in the middle of a conversation – but also doubles as a love letter to the very concept of cinema.
Cage tries to open his daughter’s mind to classics like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a silent German horror film from 1920, but then turns his nose up at the idea that a modern “children’s” film will be considered a classic movie… and then we get perhaps the funniest scene of 2022: Cage crying while watching Paddington 2.
There are some slight similarities to Adaptation, another Cage self-reflective film on movies, as well as Being John Malkovich, an odd deep dive into a specific Hollywood star, but ultimately this movie is really its own thing. .
Cage and Pascal reunited deliver a bromance for the ages, while director and co-writer Tom Gormican (who has only one other credit to his name, the incredibly forgettable 2014 rom-com That Awkward Moment) helps bring out another best performance from Cage, and pairs it with a story that’s both very , very funny and, for anyone who likes to watch good movies, incredibly poignant and insightful.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent hits Irish theaters on Friday 22nd April.
Clip via Lionsgate UK