Before we saw The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (one of the best movie titles in recent memory), my friend Peter asked an interesting question.
“Who would win in a fight: Nicholas Cage or Chuck Norris?”
Conventional wisdom would say Norris, but only if the situation was based on pure fighting. The involvement of weapons (mainly firearms) changes the outcome, especially when you factor in the truly unique zaniness that is Nick Cage (I can’t think of another actor more synonymous with the term “overacting”, with the possible exception of Pacino).
In case you have not seen the trailers, Nicholas Cage plays a (somewhat) fictional version of himself. Despite being in the twilight of his career, the sincerely dedicated thespian is determined to make a comeback (“not that he went anywhere.”) Even with his resumé, his agent (Neil Patrick Harris) is only able to get him a million dollar gig by showing up at the party of rich playboy Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal, taking a breather out of The Mandolorian armor), who also happens to be a die hard fan of Cage.
Of course, it would not be much of a Nicholas Cage movie if the CIA was not involved, which is where we get a semi-subdued Tiffany Haddish.
I would venture to say that the casual film goer does not go to a Nicholas Cage film for the plot. They go to see Nicholas Cage be, well, himself. This film clearly knows it. There are some minor moments we get with Cage and his (fictionalized) ex-wife Olivia (Sharon Horgan) and Cage’s teenage daughter Addy (Lily Sheen), but Cage gets to be himself most when he is paired with Pascal). Pascal’s Javi manages to be the perfect match to Cage without going too over the top as the fan boy. It is a solid bromance, providing a good amount of truly laugh out loud moments (including a quote by Pascal about drugs that is one of the year’s best so far.)
Parents, the movie is rated R mainly for swearing. You can make of that what you will. The problem though (and it pains me to say this) is that I am not sure if kids even know who Nicholas Cage is. The most they may know him from would probably be The Croods (unseen by me), the National Treasure films, or Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse (2018). Simply put, this is a movie you get the more out of the more you know the Nicholas Cage library, and being that I saw sixteen movies going into this one, I had a sweet time.
Afterall, I can’t think of another movie star who would make out with himself.