‘Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’ review: Bow to Nicolas Cage

Haters of Nicolas Cage, stop reading this now. Because Nicolas Cage is starring in a new film about Nicolas Cage that successively drives home why Nicolas Cage is an essential movie star. 

movie review

Running time: 107 minutes. Rated R (language throughout, some sexual references, drug use and violence). In theaters.

The argument? To quote the actor in the satirical “Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”: “I’m motherf–king Nicolas Cage!”

We Cage-ites enthusiastically agree with this assessment. 

The riotous comedy is something of a “Cage Your Enthusiasm.” Like Larry David on the long-running HBO series, Cage plays a fictionalized version of himself who can’t do anything right. 

Nic’s career has plateaued, he’s hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and his marriage has crumbled — he lives away from his wife (Sharon Horgan) and daughter (Lily Mo Sheen) in the Sunset Towers Hotel and downs whiskey like water. 

So when his agent (Neil Patrick Harris) gets a $1 million offer for Cage to fly to Mallorca and spend a weekend with a wealthy fan, Javier (Pedro Pascal), the actor has no choice but to hop on a plane to Spain.

Nicolas Cage plays Nicolas Cage in “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.”
Katalin Vermes

Soon after arriving, however, he learns that two FBI agents (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz) are on the hunt for his Spanish host because they believe he’s kidnapped the daughter of a political candidate.

Says Haddish to Cage: “I loved you in ‘Croods 2’!” 

There are so many delicious cracks at his erratic résumé: “Gone in 60 Seconds,” “Face/Off,” “The Rock,” “National Treasure,” they’re all in here. Pascal — whose sensitive, goofy performance is a surprise — gives an emotional speech about how he and his father were brought together by “Guarding Tess.” Hilarious.

Nicolas Cage (left) and Javier (Pedro Pascal) form an unlikely Spanish bromance.
Katalin Vermes/Lionsgate

Javier, an aspiring screenwriter who wants the actor to star in his movie, and Nic become unlikely buds. They go cliff-diving, start writing a movie together and cry during “Paddington 2.”

And when “Unbearable Weight,” directed and co-written by Tom Gormican, turns into an action film in the second half, the gags don’t let up.

“You’re a fast runner,” says Javier during a chase scene.

“How do you know?” Nic replies.

“The making-of featurette on ‘National Treasure.’”

It might sound like a gimmick, but it’s as good as any action-comedy you’re likely to see. Cage heightens his already big personality just the right amount to ensure that the film rises above a skit. We care a great deal about fictional Nicolas Cage.

We whisper, “God bless Nicolas Cage.”

While Hollywood is becoming more self-serious than they’ve ever been and clearly cannot take a joke — hello, Will Smith! — it’s good to have guys like him around. His self-deprecating sense of humor is an oasis in an industry where most people strut around like United Nations diplomats.

One more time for the back row: Nicolas Cage!