New Nicholas Cage Movie Is A Strange But Very Funny Comedy

‘I’ ON CULTURE

There are times when going to many movies pays off, as it did for me when I saw The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, a strange but very funny comedy starring Nicholas Cage. Yes, really! To make it even more fun, he plays (and does it very well) a character named “Nicholas Cage.” To be sure, this is not the real him. This fictionalized Cage has an ex-wife Olivia (Sharon Horgan) and a daughter Addy (Lily Sheen), with whom he cannot quite connect.

Actor and movie star Nicholas Cage (Cage, of course) drives everyone in his life crazy. He, convinced of his enormous talent, goes out of his way to scare possible filmmakers who might use him. As a result, despite the best efforts of his agent Richard Fink (Neil Patrick Harris), he is wildly in debt and forced to be in any film that will have him, no matter how bad. He manages to drive ex-wife and daughter crazy as well. When he is locked out of his hotel suite for owing $600,000, he agrees to take on a crazy job with a huge paycheck. Just go to a birthday party for this really rich guy, hang out and collect a million dollars.

So, he winds up in Mallorca, a lovely island belonging to Spain, and meets the birthday boy, Javi (Pedro Pascal), who he discovers is in many ways his (non-romantic) soul mate. Javi adores films, and even has a small shrine built into his magnificent castle devoted to Cage. Javi lives well, holding parties and hanging out with his wild cousin Lucas (Paco León) and pretty ranch manager Gabriella (Alessandra Mastronardi).

The problem is that a couple of CIA agents (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz) tell Cage that Javi is not only the head of a major drug ring but involved in the kidnapping of the daughter of a major politician in Catalonia (a not overly loyal province of Spain). Pushed in several different directions, Cage goes through major tribulations trying to help the government. Added to the complications, after hearing Cage go through a long session about problems with Olivia and Addy, Javi brings them over to the castle for what he calls “group therapy.” Suddenly, Cage realizes that Javi now has hostages.

But this is a comedy, and so it all works out. There are a few great chase scenes, a couple of great inside references to old Nick Cage movies (which are easy in most cases to ignore if you don’t get them) and, of course, a happy ending.

There is a slick style of acting throughout. Cage is great. Although in a way he is acting as himself, he has to go through emotional scenes, as well as playing some really great broad comedy. The real find, however, is Pascal. Although he generally plays very straight-forward roles, he has an incredible sense of comedy timing here. He is the funnyman most of the time, and he carries the film. It could not have been easy playing a character who at times seems evil and others a hero. I liked Sheen as the daughter and Horgan was really good as the ex-wife, still clearly drawn to Cage while angry at being pushed away by his behavior. Barinholtz stole most of his scenes from Haddish, who was mostly wasted. Although in a small part, Mastronardi has a few wonderful moments.

This film is a stylish delight. Director Tom Gormicon keeps things moving admirably. There are constant small scenes that bring out so much of the relationship between Nick and Javi but also help define the two men. It brought back memories of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid but with a modern, sophisticated overlay. The performers in small roles also had a chance to shine, often getting the best lines.

I love comedies, and we have so few of them. Half the time we hear of romantic comedies, which generally mean there are a couple of snarky lines which differentiate movies from the Hallmark Channel. This is also, in its own way, a romance, although not in any way a sexual one. But the actors are so good that my immediate thought was they should do a sequel.

This is a movie you can enjoy. It’s different but definitely worthwhile.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here