Nick Cage is a Massive Talent. So much so, that Super-fan Javi (Pedro Pascal) offers him one million dollars for an appearance at a birthday party. Of course, that sounds beneath him, until Cage finds himself in need of cash after his latest failed audition. He takes the offer and majestically jumps into the middle of an action-packed comedic adventure that might just make a great movie.
I don’t know how this works – but it totally does. Playfully self-aware and never missing a beat, the script actually comes with a good storyline. Nick gets declared an asset by the CIA and is hilariously tasked to help investigate Javi – a suspect in a political kidnapping. The two hang out and form a creative bro bond as they work (and live) through a rewrite of Javi’s screenplay.
There are many hat tips to Cage’s previous films, and not just in the secret shrine on Javi’s compound. Actual clips, memorable quotes, and comical details play up the audience’s affection for the actor and his films. And then there’s hype-man Nicky – a sort of devil-on-the-shoulder younger cgi version of Cage, who wears a Wild At Heart t-shirt. He continually steps in to remind Nick what an amazing actor he is. Cue the memorable mantra: “Nic-Fuuuuuuucking-Cage!”
Pedro Pascal is fantastic as Avi, and surprisingly not too creepy with all of his idolatry. What could be considered crazy softens into mutual admiration as the two share their love of movies, even settling in one night with Paddington Bear 2. Their friendship grows after a paranoid-filled LSD trip and movie tropes that include thwarting bad guys and rescuing loved ones.
Massive Talent is a popcorn movie for movie lovers. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any popcorn available at my theater when I saw it. Reminiscing through the diverse portfolio of Cage’s work while watching him play along was fun. Oh and yes – I did clap and cheer out loud at just the right spots. Don’t come at me.