There are so many ways this film could have gone wrong—the jokes could have fallen flat, it could have too smug and meta for its good or it could have been a horrid, annoying ego trip. However, all beating hearts for Nic Cage can rejoice, as none of that happens.
The film, where the Oscar-winning actor plays a fictionalised version of himself, sails along on an unbearable lightness of being. Work is drying up for Nick Cage (Cage), respected actor and movie star of sometime before. His home life is not so good either with his ex-wife, Olivia (Sharon Horgan) and 16-year-old daughter, Addy, (Lily Sheen) fed up with his self-involvement.
When what Nick believes is the role of a lifetime falls through, and faced with mounting debts, he decides to try out his agent, Richard Fink’s (Neil Patrick Harris) suggestion of attending a superfan’s birthday for 1 million dollars.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, Sharon Horgan, Ike Barinholtz, Alessandra Mastronardi, Jacob Scipio, Neil Patrick Harris, Tiffany Haddish
Director: Tom Gormican
Story line: An out-of-work actor reluctantly goes to a billionaire super fan’s birthday party only to be drawn into a CIA plot
Run time: 107 minutes
Nick heads to Javi Gutierrez’s (Pedro Pascal) beautiful mansion in Mallorca, Spain, for the birthday appearance. Though he lists a bunch of unmentionables he will not do, Nick realizes Javi wants him to read his script and agree to act in the movie. Simultaneously, two CIA officers, Vivian (Tiffany Haddish) and Martin (Ike Barinholtz), are watching Javi as he is a dangerous gun runner who has kidnapped a candidate’s daughter, Maria, to force him out of the elections. They get in touch with Nick and ask his help in gathering evidence against Javi and rescuing Maria.
Cage apparently refused the movie “three or four times”, before finally agreeing after reading the letter writer-director, Tom Gormican attached to the script outlining his plans for the movie. And thank god Cage accepted! As good as Cage is, Pascal provides a brilliant, delicious foil as the artiste stuck in a criminal’s body. And oh how beautiful Dubrovnik, Croatia standing in for Mallorca is! Javi’s mansion complete with Nick Cage shrine and his golden guns from Face/Off is delightful.
The references are respectful and loving, not lazy and the joy of working out a reference is one of the many perks of the movie. Like remembering Pascal’s Javi could be a reference to his Javier Peña in Narcos or that Demi Moore who plays Olivia, in the movie-within-the-movie was part of the Austin Powers movies, which is all meta James Bond. The film moves smoothly, quite like the proverbial silk cloth through the tiniest ring — the 100-odd minutes going by in breezy 60 seconds.
‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’ is currently running in theatres.