THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT
Directed by: Tom Formica
Written by: Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten
Featuring: Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, Sharon Horgan, Tiffany Haddish, Paco Leon, Tiffany Haddish, Neil Patrick Harris, Lily Mo Sheen, Alessandra Mastronardi
In financial difficulties, having problems with his daughter and ex-wife, the actor Nicolas Cage accepts an offer to attend the birthday of a super-fan for $1 million. The trouble is the fan is quite possibly a murderous drug lord and is being tracked by the CIA. It does not take long for Cage and the CIA to clash and the Hollywood star somehow contrives to go undercover, only this is ‘real life’…
This film on paper must have seemed an easy hit. Nicolas Cage the actor more talked about in film circles than any other it would seem, a feature of many memes, a veteran of great films and awful films, playing himself in an action/adventure/comedy? Cannot miss the target.
Somehow in some way the makers did. Clearly, self-aware Cage has fun being ‘himself’ with a great element of film-star self-deprecation as he happily plays himself as a somewhat sad, egomaniac, but also endearing and trying his absolute best. This part works from my point of view, but the vehicle it is given to travel in is less than new and has a few faults, to say the least.
Everything works better when ‘Nic’ is being a bit of an unaware plonker to his daughter and ex-wife, Sharon Horgan moving up the ‘greasy pole’ I see,’ and being stuck with a mega-fan that he slowly comes to like but only because he likes the stuff Nic does. Everything falls down when we get the criminal underworld action adventure added to the mix. People are apparently tortured and die for goodness sake.
Nic is a self-centered conflicted actor, and just that, but by the end he is an action hero that saves the day. I may have misunderstood but seems to pander to a need to show the actor in the best light – it is almost as if meta is trying to be a meta of itself here.
The problem was the premise and indeed the trailers I saw for this film had me really looking forward to watching it but mediocrity far outweighed anything really groundbreaking.
Nicolas Cage clearly liked playing this version of himself and it works, there is clearly chemistry and a sense of fun playing alongside Pedro Pascal whose star has risen recently and deservedly so, he is easily the best thing in the film and lifts it to a level it does not deserve if I am being brutally honest.
Horgan the star of many British comedies in both acting and writing is not given enough to do here which is a shame and Sheen in her first film showing does as well as she can in a role that any young actor could have filled.
Filmed at beautiful locations with good actors in a fun premise it was never going to fail entirely and the first third, possibly two-thirds were fun, comedic and even a little believable if in a writ-large type of way. The let-down comes in the problematical action end of the film where everything gets so familiar and then neatly tied up.
A good effort, a great idea but overall, after getting into a great position the team shot well wide of the goal.
Nic Cage’s many fans and admirers will undoubtedly disagree with me.