★★★★

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is an action-comedy film directed by Tom Gormican (That Awkward Moment), from the mind of writer Kevin Etten. It stars Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, Tiffany Haddish, Sharon Horgan, Paco Leon, Neil Patrick Harris, Lily Mo Sheen, Alessandra Mastronardi, and Ike Barinholtz.

Nicolas Cage plays Nick Cage, an actor going through a rough time: on the outs with his family, plagued with a troubled career, and on the verge of financial ruin. He begrudgingly accepts an offer to attend the birthday of a billionaire superfan for $1 million. While there, they become enamored with each other as they bond over shared interests. Nick reaches an impasse when CIA operatives (Haddish; Barinholtz) confront him. He is forced to go undercover, as his fan's true identity is revealed to be notorious arms dealer Javi Gutierrez (Pascal).

Audiences don’t have to be a Nicolas Cage fanatic to enjoy this movie as the action scenes are plentiful, the comedy is on point, and the acting is superb. For those not in the know, most of the more iconic movie references are smoothly explained, as it is mentioned early on that fans range in age and taste. Even then, Easter Eggs abound for meticulous fans who will find them sprinkled throughout.

There is something relatable in Pascal’s starstruck portrayal of Javi, the Nick Cage superfan. Audiences can see the anxiety and love in his eyes as he stares directly into his idol’s face. While he is well-known in action roles (Mandalorian, Kingsman), he has come into his own in the comedy genre.

Cage does an amazing job as he both embraces and subverts his own image. This role allows him to stretch his acting chops as he gets to relive some of the most “meme-able” movie moments, while also playing a struggling actor and father. Throughout the movie he is faced with multiple dilemmas: acting vs. family, job vs. career, Javi vs. CIA.

The film starts off a little slow and it isn’t until Cage reaches Mallorca, Spain that the pace quickens, and it finds its feet. There is a brilliant balance struck between Gormican and Etten’s narrative about celebrity culture and the action-comedy depicted in the trailer. In fact, the film is so “meta,” audiences may discover a different appreciation for it after enjoying it in the theater. Sure, the comedy is gold and the action scenes exciting, but the layers of the film don’t truly reveal themselves until afterwards.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was released at the South by Southwest film festival to rave reviews and it’s easy to see why. It transcends genre boundaries, moving smoothly from adult drama to comedy to action movie, proving it has a little bit of something for everyone. But for Nicolas Cage superfans, this is definitely one to add to your collection.