From blockbusters like Gone in 60 Seconds and Con Air through to more artistic films like Mandy, Cage is an actor who always puts in 110%. It is for that reason you could be forgiven for going into The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent expecting something pretty special.
Here Cage plays himself… well kind of. The Nic Cage here is an actor who is struggling to find decent roles and is short on cash after separating from his wife Olivia (Sharon Horgan – Game Night) and struggling with his relationship with his daughter, Addy (Lily Sheen – Underworld: Evolution).
Cage’s fortunes take a turn though when his manager (Neil Patrick Harris – Starship Troopers) informs him that he will be paid 1 million dollars if he will travel to Europe for the birthday of rich businessman Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal – Game of Thrones).
He is reluctant at first but Cage ends up accepting the invitation when he is told that he will be able to pay off his debt and have a chance to relax for a bit. However, his relaxation is quickly interrupted though when he is recruited by a CIA Agent named Vivian (Tiffany Haddish – Night School), who says Javi is responsible for the kidnapping of a politician’s daughter.
This is certainly a film that a lot of Cage fans have been looking forward to, but are they going to be impressed? To be honest the film is okay but it could have been a hell of a lot better, especially if writer/director Tom Gormican (That Awkward Moment) had inserted more moments that captured some of Cage’s memorable characters from over the years or even injected a little more comedy into the script at all.
Watching the film most audience members will find themselves wondering exactly what Gormican was trying to achieve with the film. It doesn’t quite have the comedy to make it an action-comedy and on the flipside the action sequences are not exactly something that audiences are going to remember for years to come either.
Likewise, the characters around Cage mostly seem to be walking clichés. Poor Tiffany Haddish is given nothing to work with as she plays a stereotypical CIA Agent. Likewise Lily Sheen should have a lot more emotional scenes to play out with her on-screen father, although you do have to wonder why Cage’s own son wasn’t in the film given that he is an actor in his own right.
What does save this film though is the acting chemistry generated between Cage and Pascal. The pair share some amazing scenes together and when there is a little bit of comedy to play with they deliver it with the skill of any seasoned comedy duo. It is a shame that the pair weren’t given more comedy to work with throughout the film because it is the one saving grace of the movie. It is also a reminder that perhaps both Cage and Pascal should be doing more comedy in their careers.
It is these moments that generate laughs in this film that do momentarily make you forget just how clichéd the plot is that the characters find themselves in. If Gormican was going to take the film down the cliché path then at least he could have tried to make that creative and perhaps pay ‘tribute’ to some of the memorable scenes and roles that Cage has been involved in over the years. Imagine the humour that could have been generated if scenes from Con Air or Ghostrider had suddenly made their way into the film.
At the end of the day The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent just doesn’t do enough to honour the career of Nicolas Cage. It tries to play it safe and as a result it becomes an average film that seems a little lost with what genre it wanted to be… a shame when the comedy elements that do find themselves into the film are well executed by Cage and Pascal.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is currently screening in Phuket and is rated ‘15’.
David Griffiths has been working as a film and music reviewer for over 20 years. That time has seen him work in radio, television and in print. You can follow him at www.facebook.com/subcultureentertainmentaus