In Review

Film review: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

‘Hats off’ to Nicolas Cage who stars as Nick Cage in this ‘batty comic caper’

Imagine “Nicolas Cage playing a version of Nicolas Cage, in a parody of Nicolas Cage and the many, many films of Nicolas Cage”, said Deborah Ross in The Spectator. If that sounds like too much Cage, that’s exactly what this action comedy “is playing with, and it’s a hoot”. 

Cage stars as Nick Cage, a Hollywood movie star famed for his unhinged intensity. When his “fast and loose” attitude to spending leaves him with a $600,000 hotel bill, and no acting jobs on the horizon to pay it, he accepts the offer of $1m to attend a billionaire’s birthday party on a Spanish island. Javi (Pedro Pascal) is a superfan who wants his idol to read a screenplay he has written. Javi is also being tracked by two CIA officers, who believe he has abducted the daughter of Catalonia’s president – and who enlist Nick Cage to help rescue her. The plot is as “wildly ludicrous” as any Cage film (think Face/Off or Con Air), and though it pokes fun at Cage’s public persona, “it’s affectionately done, and there are moments of real vulnerability”. I smiled so much “my own face hurt by the end”. 

“Hats off to Cage” for being so game, said Brian Viner in the Daily Mail. He apparently turned down the project several times before finally giving in, and the result isn’t bad. Its problem, though, is that it isn’t quite outlandish enough. The conceit of Cage playing himself is rich with potential, but here it is used to serve a “batty comic caper” that’s ultimately quite conventional. 

The film “does have some funny lines”, especially for those familiar with Cage’s work, said Matthew Bond in The Mail on Sunday. But when the mood switches from clever satire to violent action, the pace falters and the film starts to feel like a “one-note joke” strung out for too long. 

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