A cash-strapped Nicolas Cage agrees to make a paid appearance at a billionaire super fan’s birthday party, but is really an informant for the CIA since the billionaire fan is a drug kingpin and gets cast in a Tarantino movie.

Pam says:

Nicolas Cage: icon and movie hero, a legend who “is back” with the hilarious new film “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.” He stars as himself, but an exaggerated (maybe?) version who has money issues, family troubles, and a consuming desire to work, work, work. Dejected from a role rejection and now, in an effort to pay off a $600k hotel bill — his home after divorcing his wife Olivia (Sharon Horgan)—his agent, Richard (Neil Patrick Harris) gets him a birthday party gig which pays $1M. Reluctantly accepting, Nick flies to Mallorca, Spain, meeting his birthday boy, Javi (Pedro Pascal) whose ties with the mob land him in a role he’s never played before…CIA agent who must fight for his life and his family’s.

To read Pam’s review in its entirety, go to RHR


Chuck says:

There’s a great deal going on in “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” and it all has to do with Nicolas Cage…or is it Nick Cage?  Of course, there’s probably a bit of Nicolas Kim Coppola (which is his real name…really) floating around as well, but we won’t bother to parse all that out. At once an examination of the blurring of the lines between an actor’s genuine personality and their screen persona, “Unbearable” is a daring, fun look at modern celebrity with Cage, the best of best sports, lampooning his own image while playing a version of himself…sort of.

While Cage and his agent (Neil Patrick Harris) contend that he’s not in need of a comeback, the truth is, he is. After failing to get a role that would put him back on top and being reminded he has a $600,000 hotel bill hanging over his head, the actor accepts an offer that’s too good to be true.  All he has to do is fly to Mallorca, Spain, attend a birthday party for an eccentric billionaire and one million dollars will be deposited in his bank account. Piece a cake…

Problem is, his host, Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal) is being observed by two CIA agents (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz) who think he has something to do with the kidnapping of a presidential candidate’s daughter.  Really, all he wants to do is pitch Cage a script he’s written but before you know it, our hero is recruited to help the authorities infiltrate the compound and look for the lost girl.  Yes, a Nicolas Cage movie breaks out…

The lines between Nicolas and Nick blur to the point that you’re likely to experience a bit of narrative vertigo, which is director Tom Gormican’s intent. This is brilliantly driven home when, thanks to some special effects trickery, Nick speaks to his younger self, Cage from his “Valley Girl” days. The elder version is stunned by the brashness of his youthful self, at times seemingly unable to recognize the young artist whose narrow vision is only focused on fame and fortune, blissfully unaware of the compromises that are in his future, that will lead him to being his disillusioned self.  There’s depth amidst the shenanigans here and its purpose doesn’t only apply to Cage. Viewers of a certain age will be able to relate to the mid-life, existential angst he’s suffering, while Javi’s hero worship puts how audiences project their own perspectives on screen idols in the spotlight as well.

Cage, of course, is having a great time and while it would be tempting to say he’s the main attraction, that would do a disservice to his co-stars. Pascal shows a heretofore unseen humorous side, knowing just how to steal a moment or two from the star by effectively underplaying his character’s starstruck demeanor.  Equally good is Sharon Horgan as Cage’s long-suffering ex-wife, a worthy foil who knows her husband better than he knows himself.

There’s a great deal of fun to be had with the movie, none of which would work if Cage weren’t open to lampooning his own image, which he’s well-aware is one of the most outsized film personae of the last half-century. To be sure, the more you know about his career- especially the last ten years – the more you’ll appreciate the numerous post-modern nods that suffuse the film.  However, even if you don’t catch the significance of the line, “Not the bees!” you’ll still be able to appreciate “Unbearable’s” meta-dissection of Cage the star, the man and the actor.

3 Stars

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