After the peak of his career in the 1990s and early 2000s, Nicolas Cage had been reduced to a joke after making many questionable acting decisions and poor spending habits. Despite his poor luck in Hollywood, he recently made a resurgence with films like Mandy, Willy’s Wonderland and Pig, which garnered numerous accolades. Now the question is, is Nick Cage still on that path of redemption?
Nicolas Cage (played by…Nicolas Cage) is a struggling actor with a strained relationship with his ex-wife Olivia (played by Sharon Horgan) and daughter Addy (played by Lily Mo Sheen). After embarrassing himself at Addy’s birthday party, he decides to quit acting. His agent (played by Neil Patrick Harris) tells Cage to go to a private island owned by billionaire Javi Gutierrez (played by Pedro Pascal). While on the island, Cage and Javi become best friends over their shared interest in films and passion for creating a film together. However, the CIA discover that Javi might have kidnapped the daughter of an anti-crime politician and possess ties to the Cartel.
I’d like to start out by saying that despite Nick Cage’s questionable acting role choices he’s made, I still enjoy his performances. His manic energy consisting of screaming, creepy smiling, hitting people and swearing like a mad man all jolts electricity into what would otherwise be dull movies. And in the case of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Nick Cage is no different, with the addition of Pedro Pascal joining him in his manic energy. Cage displays impressive range by playing not only a fictionalized version of himself, but also successfully portraying a younger internalized version of himself that’s supposed to represent his inner ego. All this shows that Nick Cage still has that acting flame inside him.
Besides Cage, Pedro Pascal as Javi not only rivals Cage’s manic energy, but also brings a whole new dynamic that I never expected from a Nick Cage movie: a buddy-cop dynamic. Pascal and Cage have a true bromance through and through. Not only is he a massive Cage fan, but Javi even inspires Cage to continue acting when he was about to quit. If everyone had a friend like Javi, the world would be a better place. Pascal continues to amaze me with his acting range, going from serious and nuanced in The Mandalorian to over-the-top villain in Wonder Woman 1984 to well-meaning, if not a bit goofy, best friend in this film.
Despite the film cramming in too many subplots, with Cage’s artistic struggles, to his buddy-cop bromance with Javi, to a political ploy by the Cartel, the film is well-paced and doesn’t make you feel like you’ve spent a lifetime watching it. The script is much more intelligent than it had to be, considering that most would initially have tossed this film aside as just another Nick Cage flick. Rather, the script manages to engage viewers by going extra on the meta commentary on Nick Cage’s personal life. Additionally, the film displays some impressive visual effects, particularly with Cage’s inner ego personification, Nicky. Watching Nicky on screen, it never felt weird or jarring to see a de-aged Nick Cage.
Nick Cage’s rocky career and personal life is interesting to say the least, but with The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, it seems Cage is figuring things out. He brings his signature energy and charisma that could only be matched by the one and only Pedro Pascal. It’s sad to think that when first hearing of this film, I saw another bad Cage B-movie. However, traction and marketing grew for the film and I became more intrigued. Thankfully, I was laughing from start to finish. This alone is proof that Nicolas Cage is back…not that he went anywhere.
Co-Written by: Noah Kloss