Cage playing an alternative version of himself, an actor called Nick Cage, takes the mickey beautifully out of the actor’s vanity and insecurities, film cliches and the film biz generally. Apart from Sharon Horgan as Nick’s dryly down to earth, soon to be ex wife and Demi Moore as another movie actor the cast is largely unknown in the UK. But they are all jolly good
The complex plot kicks off with Nick agreeing to make a celebrity appearance at mega-rich super fan Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal)’s birthday party. But the CIA, in person of Vivan (Tiffany Haddish) and her sidekick (Neil Patrick Harris) believe Javi is a big time drug baron who has kidnapped a tv star’s daughter and they recruit Nick to gather evidence. Also making an impact is Paco León, as Javi’s scary big brother Lucas, who appears to be addicted to breakfast cereal.
The script includes loads of visual and aural jokes and references to Cage’s many films. One which comes to mind in particular is Adaptation, in which he played the dual role of its screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and Charlie’s fictional twin brother Donald. His alter ego here is the young Nick, (the now middle aged Cage in heavy make up), who self importantly insists that he should see himself as a movie star, not a jobbing actor, who’ll take any job going – which is presumably how the real life Cage, with his amazingly huge list of credits does regard himself.
This first collaboration between writer/director Tom Gormican and writer/producer Kevin Etten will hopefully be the first of many. It manages to send up something rotten most if not all the usual action movie cliches to great comic effect, including of course gunplay and destructive car chases. But best of all is Cage, enthusiastically satirising the movie business and himself. It’s all great fun, moves at a helluva lick and is very funny.