(director/writer: Tom Gormican; screenwriter: Kevin Etten; cinematographer: Nigel Bluck; editor: Melissa Bretherton; music: Mark Isham; cast: Nicolas Cage (Nicolas Cage), Tiffany Haddish (Vivian), Pedro Pascal (Javi Gutierrez), Sharon Horgan (Olivia), Alessandra Mastronardi (Gabriela), Neil Patrick Harris (Richard Fink), Jacob Scipio (Carlos), Paco León (Lucas Gutierrez), Ike Barinholtz (Martin),  Lily Sheen (Addy Cage); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: R; producers; Nicolas Cage, Mike Nilon, Kristin Burr, Kevin Turen: Lionsgate; 2022)

“Nicolas Cage is a riot playing himself.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Nicolas Cage is a riot playing himself in this lightweight action-packed comedy directed and co-written by Tom Gormican (“That Awkward Moment”), who writes it with Kevin Etten.

It’s a wacky satire of the egotistical Nick Cage as a Hollywood actor and his search of validation as a thespian, as he plays a fictionalized version of himself (proving he has a good sense of humor and can take a joke directed at him).

Nick is divorced from his make-up artist wife Olivia (Sharon Horgan) and has a spotty relationship with his teen daughter Addy (Lily Sheen). The actor, never lacking confidence, still feels desperate because he’s broke, jobless and talking to himself.

But he accepts a $ 1 million offer to attend for a week-end a wealthy fan’s birthday party in Spain’s Mallorca from the billionaire arms dealer Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal), an offer arranged by his agent (Neil Patrick Harris), and he soon finds things radically change for the better as the fanboy finances a Cage film from a script the arms dealer wrote. The two bond over LSD.

The film goes into a thriller mode, as CIA agents, Vivian (Tiffany Haddish) and Martin (Ike Barinholtz), use Cage as an asset and tell him they suspect that Javi has kidnapped the daughter of the president of Catalonia in order to sidetrack an election. Nick must choose to betray his new friend or co-operate with government operatives.

A funny bit has those around Cage react to the films of his they most loved: Javi gets teary-eyed over “Guarding Tess” and Vivian loves “The Croods 2.”

Though the film is sheer nonsense and offers no surprises, it does a solid for Cage and his cult following and those who dig action movie fantasy films that go gonzo and are so disarmingly playful. References are made to other Cage films such as “The Rock,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” “Mandy,” “Vampire’s Kiss,” “Wild at Heart” and “Face/Off.”