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The Magic Number 170 – the Best Nicolas Cage Film Yet?

The short answer? No, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” isn’t the best Nic Cage film yet. The film’s worth a watch, though, and not because Cage plays Cage in the action comedy.

The film currently sports an 87% score on Rotten Tomatoes after 275 audience and critic reviews. This is a bit of a fall from the film’s first week when it scored 100%, the highest rating of all 170 movies with a Cage credit on the site. So, while it can’t claim the top Cage film, the meta-upon-meta movie works.

Nicolas Cage (right) and Pedro Pascal (left) in "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent"
Lionsgate Films

While exaggerated, the Hollywood version of Cage is always anxious, pompous, and a bit much to get used to. Screenplay writers Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten weave a solid narrative plotline with enough humor and high action to hold it together.

Insecure, creatively stuck, and facing mounting huge financial bills (including a running $600,000 hotel bill), the fictionalized Cage accepts a $1 million offer to attend the birthday of Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal). Things take a serious left turn upon landing in Mallorca (Spain) to meet Javi. CIA operatives contact Cage and set up an escalating, out-of-control operation to rescue a kidnapped girl. The anxious actor is suddenly forced to live up to his own legend and channel his most iconic and beloved on-screen characters in order to save himself and his loved ones.

It’s an odd fit, watching Cage play an unexpectedly overbearing version of himself. There are the anticipated eruptions that can explode at any moment, but there’s also egocentric uncertainty that doesn’t jibe with what you’d imagine the man to be in real life. Fortunately, Pascal’s Javi steps in to shake the actor out of his shell.

First and foremost, Javi is a superfan, and a rich superfan at that. Through charisma and charm, Javi forces out the Cage we all know and love. The two become fast friends, but that’s where things get dicey. CIA operatives decide to use the actor’s talent on a whim, charging him with a rescue mission that involves going behind Javi’s back.

Via cliff jumps and acid trips, a plan evolves for a budding “adult drama about two men.” Interweaving and knotting between these silver screen dreams, however, are the bumbling CIA rescue mission and Cage’s domestic difficulties at home.

Catastrophe co-creator Sharon Horgan plays a believable version of Cage’s ex-wife, but it seems like screenwriters weren’t prepared for her level of comedic talent. She gets in a shot or two, but the film leaves you wanting more than the exasperated and eventually embracing ex-wife.

When it comes to Cage’s personal life, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” sells Cage short in multiple ways. He’s divorced not once, but four times, and is currently married to his expectant wife, Riko Shibata. This will be the actor’s third real-life child, but instead of the self-indulgent actor he plays, it’s reported that Cage is devoted to his kids, even admitting to turning down big roles to spend time with them.

The film is an interesting and entertaining watch. There’s no getting around that the movie feels self-indulgent, which is why Cage reportedly turned down the film several times. The role fits, though, alongside genuine chemistry with Pascal and the requisite amount of Cage craziness.

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is available for purchase now with streaming on Vudu scheduled to start on June 21.

Matthew Denis
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Matt Denis is an on-the-go remote multimedia reporter, exploring arts, culture, and the existential in the Pacific Northwest…
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