To love Nicolas Cage doesn’t make you an underrepresented minority. For decades, his face on a movie poster was the key to worldwide ticket sales, though he’s more than just a global star. It is likely that he has been called the greatest actor of his time. In his off years, he’s been jeered at as a guy who’d take any role to finance the purchase of a castle, or perhaps a choice dinosaur skull. He contradicts himself. Well, then he does contradict himself. He is huge. He has many.
Unfortunately, The unimaginable weight of massive talent A meta-comedy with ostensibly great proportions isn’t nearly big enough to encompass those many. Cage stars as Nick Cage, a fictional version of himself who spouts lofty ideas about acting but who’s finding it harder and harder to land gigs. He’s also having family troubles: his teenage daughter (Lily Sheen) resents him, and his impending divorce from his smart and justifiably annoyed makeup-artist wife Olivia (Sharon Horgan) has left him broke.
Fortunately, his agent (Neil Patrick Harris) has a job for him: Spanish billionaire and superfan Javi (Pedro Pascal) will pay Nick to attend the birthday party Javi’s throwing in Mallorca. Incidentally, Javi has also written a screenplay—because someone has Always written a screenplay.
Read more reviews by Stephanie Zacharek
Nick is eager to help and will be there in just 60 seconds. Javi and Nick form a close, warm and manly relationship over LSD. They also share a love of Nick Cage. Tiffany Haddish, and Ike Barrinholtz, CIA agents who suspect Javi in a well-publicized kidnapping are able to stop their bro time. Meanwhile, another version of Nick Cage—a much younger, Wild at Heart–era gonzo id with unpleasantly pearlescent CGI-de-aged skin—pops up repeatedly to remind the older Nick that he’s not a serious actor but a superstar, and he needs to start behaving like one.
The unimaginable weight of massive talentTom Gormican directs. Along with Kevin Etten, he also cowrote the script. What is it? Face/OffWhich is your favorite? Represented! Do you consider yourself one of those Cage Completists? Protecting Tessa? Gormican’s got you! It is clear that the audience will hoot whenever they spot a Cage reference. This will often be. It’s not a film for watching, but for making noise.
Look beneath the raunchy fun. The unimaginable weight of massive talent and you’ll find a depressing act of redemption that doesn’t really need to happen. After a long period making low-quality movies to make a living, Nicolas Cage has been praised by the media. (Last year he gave a terrific fine-grained, hard-nosed performance in Michael Sarnoski’s small-budget Pig.) We already know that Cage—with those soulful-rabbit eyes, that voice like olivine velvet—can do just about anything. No one should be surprised that Cage was willing to take part in this unassuming act of self-mockery. It’s a film for the fans, perhaps because no one knows. WhoIt is not possible to make films for any other reason. Instead of taking us to another place, it just confirms our ability find things we enjoyed in the past. It’s the dinosaur skull we want, and buy, leaving greater needs unmet.
Register to Get More of the Story, TIME’s weekly entertainment newsletter, to get the context you need for the pop culture you love.
Here are more must-read stories from TIME