In THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT (2022), veteran actor Nicholas Cage scores the role of a lifetime, playing himself in a comedy offering plenty of gonzo red meat for Cage fans and meta laughs for anyone even remotely familiar with his filmography. I thought it was a ton of fun.
The film begins with Nicholas Cage going through a divorce, unable to connect with his daughter, suffering financial ruin, and feeling creatively unfulfilled. When a rich superfan offers $1 million to attend a birthday party in Spain, he turns it down, only to be forced to take it. This puts him into a strange friendship with the fan (Pedro Pascal), at odds with his ego Nicky (a younger version of him played by himself), and recruitment by the CIA as the superfan is suspected of being a drug kingpin.
What follows is light fare but with plenty of meat, much of it meta but plenty coming from the great performances, particularly the great chemistry between Cage and Pascal, and something of a character arc in which Cage must live up to the legend and channel many of his old roles to save the day in order to take a step back and enjoy life and be a more loving and giving person. In short, the film has a lot of charm, it’s funny in the right places, the meta aspect is played at the right balance, and the plot moves where it’s supposed to go.
I don’t know if I’d call myself a Cage fan, but I’m loving this current phase in his career as he reaches for weird roles and leans into the gonzo persona he’s accrued over the years. THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT is the culmination of this. I’m looking forward to what he’s going to do next.