There haven’t been a lot of successful examples of people playing themselves in a movie. Howard Stern in Private Parts, John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich, and the entire cast of This Is the End initially come to mind.
We can now add The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent to that list, as it gives Nicolas Cage a full film opportunity to poke fun at himself and the industry that made him rich and weird.
That stunt in and of itself makes the film very much worth viewing, because Cage, unsurprisingly, takes full advantage of the opportunity—and bites into it with the ferocity of Bruce the Shark from Jaws.
The movie’s plot isn’t as bizarre as the man himself, but it has plenty of inspired moments. When I hear Nic Cage is going to play himself in a movie, I expect a nutty, surreal story, like Cage teaming up with David Lynch to fight wily aliens. Or better yet, Nicolas Cage teaming up with a younger Nicolas Cage to fight David Lynch!
Nope. Instead, he’s given a relatively routine plot; it’s a buddy movie, if you will. That could’ve rendered the film mildly boring, but the routine plot thread—including kidnapping, male bonding, etc.—is elevated with the casting of Pedro Pascal in the buddy role. Pascal is such a fun performer, and he pairs up with Cage so well that you eventually don’t care about some of the middling plot details; you just go along for the ride.
The film does have a couple of great scenes where Cage talks to a younger, freakier version of himself, and I definitely would’ve welcomed more scenes with the two Cages. But that’s just me being petty: The fact we get a couple of scenes with Nicolas Cage interacting with himself, sometimes quite inappropriately, is happy fuel. There are plenty of Cage Easter eggs to be had.
I would love it if this was followed up by a string of sequels in which Nicolas Cage just plays himself in different situations. Do a sci-fi movie, or maybe a straight horror film. Shit, Nicolas Cage should just star as himself playing alongside himself and Pascal in all of his future movies. They can be the modern Abbott and Costello.