Cage. Nicolas Cage. The ending scene of his 1997 action film Con Air plays on a television screen as teenage girl Maria (Katrin Vankova) watches, remarking on how incredible he is. This serves as the opening scene of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, an action-comedy starring Nicolas Cage as an exaggerated, neurotic version of himself. In debt and losing film roles left and right, Cage accepts a $1 million offer to attend a billionaire superfan’s birthday party in the Nic Cage movie to end all Nic Cage movies.
There is no easier way to praise this movie than to say it is incredible and everything one would have expected and wanted it to be. The very premise is enough to get people into seats: watching a Hollywood legend with a cult following play himself in an outrageous comedy. This type of film would not have been as funny if it were any other celebrity at the epicenter of this daunting idea. It’s no wonder Cage rejected the role multiple times before agreeing to the par. Thankfully, he changed his mind after a personal letter from writer-director Tom Gormican, as this is one of the most outrageously entertaining movies we’ve gotten in years and a fantastic return to form for the theatrical mid-budget comedy.
The film features Cage in debt, living in a hotel, and losing a role in a David Gordon Green film after performing an embarrassing monologue in a thick Boston accent. As Cage struggles to connect with his family and decides to throw in the towel and retire, he agrees to fly to Mallorca to spend time with Javi (Pedro Pascal) on his birthday. The setup in the first act is consistently funny, as we hear Cage’s angelic singing voice while also establishing him as a character struggling with a lot.
As Cage warms up to Javi, the second act becomes a series of fun and games that are an absolute joy to watch. Cage and Javi are a perfect duo, as Cage is initially annoyed by him but warms up to him as they learn about their shared love of films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The friendship they share ends up as one of the most heartwarming parts of the film, as we feel the immaculate chemistry between Cage and Pascal. They work wonders together as two mismatched personalities on a mission to write a grounded and dramatic screenplay together.
As mentioned in this movie, a screenplay needs a hook to get audiences into seats. This movie has that in spades with the inclusion of Vivian (Tiffany Haddish) and Martin (Ike Barinholtz), two CIA agents who need the help of the Oscar-winning thespian to solve a case surrounding a politician’s kidnapped daughter. The story is surprisingly engaging, as Cage is pushed to situations for which he is neither trained nor ready. While the believability of it all is questionable, it doesn’t matter. Everyone in this movie is having a ton of fun, as is the audience, while they watch Cage and Javi do LSD in a sequence that offers nonstop hilarity.
Few actors are as versatile as Cage. He’s given plenty of phenomenal dramatic performances, but it’s his delightfully over-the-top acting in films like Vampire’s Kiss and Face-Off that are more similar to his character here. This movie is tailor-made for his talents, as his comedic timing leads to an absolute powerhouse of a performance. In addition, Pascal is funnier than we have ever seen from him, and Haddish and Barinholtz reunite after their onscreen pairing in The Oath for a hilarious dynamic.
Despite already sounding incredible on paper, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is even better than expected. It’s one of the only hilarious meta-comedies we’ve gotten in a while, similar to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Last Action Hero. With gut-busting comedy and a well-written story with entertaining characters, this is a must-watch for fans of Cage.
As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 9 equates to “Excellent.” Entertainment that reaches this level is at the top of its type. The gold standard that every creator aims to reach.