When the tagline of the film is Nicholas Cage IS Nic Cage, how the film succeeds or fails is based entirely on the talent of one actor. Whether that man has Massive Talent can be debated, but he does have incredible box office draw. “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” falls into the early sarcastic and fun range of Cage’s oeuvre. After a slew of roles featuring unbearable, over-the-top performances in forgettable films, Cage has found a few filmmakers who’ve known what to do with his talent.
Not that this film is in the realm of “Adaption” or “Leaving Las Vegas” or even as funny and heart-warming as “Moonstruck”, “Unbearable” is simply a fun comedy film with Nicholas Cage in fine flamboyant form. It wasn’t a given that he’d sign on to a film that was written expressly with him in mind by director Tom Gormican, and screenwriter, Kevin Etten. Cage only agreed after the character Nicholas Cage wasn’t portrayed as a deadbeat dad.
What makes the film so enjoyable is the actor being willing to make fun of himself. There’s even an earlier version of himself called Nic Cage (actor Nick Wittman) who acts like the character in “Wild at Heart”. He’s like his demented life coach; giving the star advice and encouraging him to let go of his inhibitions…even making out with him to bring out his passion. Yes, Nic Cage makes out with Nicholas Cage in a film that uses his own life and career in a barely fictionalized way. It’s as meta as it gets.
Surrounding Cage with some talented and unexpected actors works to bring out a playfulness and wit that’s often missing in other roles. Neil Patrick Harris is Cage’s agent. They have a few funny scenes together. Tiffany Haddish has a pivotal role as a CIA agent and Cage has great chemistry with Pedro Pascal. Their relationship is crucial to the film’s success. Pascal plays Javi, a high-powered crime lord who’s also a HUGE Cage fan. Cage is the movie star who’s merely there for the paycheck but finds himself responding to the admiration and in a fun twist, winds up working for the CIA.
There are elements from many of Cage’s most famous films; chase scenes, shoot outs, drinking, and an extended scene of the two friends high on mushrooms that’s hilarious. There’s kidnapping, family endangerment and double-crosses but it’s all played for laughs. There’s never a moment where the audience believes there’s real danger. The bad guys will be bested. The family will be reunited. And Javi and Cage will make a film together. Okay, maybe not that last bit.
Drinks With Films rating: 3 tumblers of expensive rum, sipped by a hot tub while telling tall tales of a Hollywood career (out of 5)