Nick Cage red rocks this self-parody.
When word got out that Bruce Willis is through with acting because of a serious medical condiction of his, it broke the hearts of millions, including myself, who voted “Pulp Fiction” as my all-time favorite movie. Action movie stars can either stoop to new lows or redeem themselves or call it quits.
Nicolas Cage was a big time actor with a number of hits, including “Face Off,” “Con Air,” “Moonstruck,” “Raising Arizona,” and “Adaptation.” And then, he found himself with a number of bombs like “Bangkok Dangerous,” “Knowing,” and a few others I can’t name right now. But with movies like “Joe,” the “Croods” movies, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Color Out of Space,” and “Pig,” he’s been able to delicately redeem himself. Thus proving that he needs to be himself and not some proxy.
That’s basically the set-up to “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” in which he portrays himself as Nick Cage, who for some reason hasn’t gotten the script for “Pig” yet, and this takes place after “The Croods: A New Age” was released. It’s not often we get to see these kinds of fictionalized movies to talk about animated films. “This is the End” never talked about Seth Rogen’s animated films and “The Trip” sequels never mentioned anything about Steven Coogan’s work at Illumination. Animation is an art form, and a part of classic cinema. So please stop bad mouthing that.
Sorry. I had to get that out of my system. But anyway, the movie is funny and fearless in the ways it talks about Cage’s movies, as well as movies he wasn’t cast in. So, it’s funny on both sides of the coin.
The story involves his “Wild at Heart” self Nicky Cage telling him to deliver the goods, his ex-wife (Sharon Horgan) telling him to be a better father, and his agent (Neil Patrick Harris) hooking him up with a birthday gig at a private home in Spain, owned by billionaire and die hard Nicolas Cage fan Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal). Cage is unaware that Javi may have ordered the kidnapping of a politician’s daughter, and is recruited by two CIA agents (Tiffany Haddish, who says: “Nick Cage from “Moonstruck?,” and Ike Barinholtz, who answers: “No, Nick Cage from “Con Air”).
The story has action movie elements we’ve seen done before and always will, but it’s funny and energetic the way writer/director Tom Gormican (fresh from “That Awkward Moment”) presents them while satirizing its target audience. As you know, I’m a film critic, who sticks up for smaller films, too, so I can totally see where he’s aiming. And he also wants us to take it seriously when Cage’s daughter (Lily Mo Sheen) feels like her father is pressuring her into being an alternate him.
We have Cage suggesting to Javi, who wants to give him his movie script, that they should spend more time on the island to push the script to new limits. That way, it won’t blow his cover. Pascal, outside his “Mandalorian” territory, is able to show his versatility, especially with his connection with Cage.
This has something for those who love Cage, hated his bombs, and believed he could get back in the game. “Pig” made that perfectly clear, and “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” sympathizes and spoofs the actor.
Disclaimer: my heading is a reference to “Red Rock West” from 1994.
In Theaters This Friday