The Best Nicolas Cage Comedies, Ranked

The offbeat and wonderfully weird Nicholas Cage is one of Hollywood’s greatest acting chameleons, taking on every genre and character with unique zest. Having appeared in countless memorable and eccentric pictures, Cage has created an enduring and respected cinema legacy, never being afraid to tackle any role, storyline and film style regardless how outlandish it may be. Though he has deservedly developed a reputation for being an eccentric action movie star, the esteemed actor has also starred in a slew of hilarious and entertaining comedies, with his first major leading role being in the 1983 rom-com Valley Girl. He would go on to appear in such flicks throughout his colorful career, with many of these pictures being some of his finest.

Whether Cage is playing himself as an over-the-top fictionalized version of the actor in his latest film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, a dim-witted con man in the cult classic Coen brothers film Raising Arizona, or as a prehistoric caveman in the DreamWorks animated movie The Croods, Nicolas Cage is a master in the comedy genre. These are some of the best Nicolas Cage comedies.

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8th The Croods

The Crood family all smiles in The Croods: Family TreeNBC Universal / DreamWorks

DreamWorks’ 2013 animated adventure comedy The Croods takes place in a prehistoric era and follows a caveman and his family as they embark on a daring journey through a wondrous land in search of a new home. Stacked with an exceptional voice cast including Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, and Ryan Reynolds, the ending fantasy flick features Cage as the Crood family patriarch Grug, an overprotective caveman who will do anything to protect his family from the exotic new world around them.

The Croods went on to become a surprise blockbuster hit, grossing over $500 million while also being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, spawning multiple sequels and even two animated series, with season two of Croods: Family Tree recently airing. TheWrap commended the comedy, writing, “This material could have easily fallen into sitcom clichés with a heaping scoop of anachronism jokes on the side, but The Croods takes these characters with their situation seriously enough to make the story matter.”

7 adaptation

adaptationSony Pictures Releasing

Based on the life and struggles of American screenwriter and director Charlie Kaufman, the 2002 meta comedy-drama adaptation centers on the dejected creator’s efforts to successfully adapt Susan Orlean’s nonfiction book The Orchid Thief, while dealing with his freeloading twin brother Donald. For the off-the-wall comedy, Nicolas Cage pulls double duty by portraying both Charlie and Donald, as the character Charlie battles against depression, anxiety and social phobia.

Related: Nicholas Cage Names the Three Best Movies He’s Ever Made

Adaptation brilliantly intertwines elements of the novel with fictitious components, like creating a twin brother for Charlie; the real life Kaufman wrote the screenplay for the thought-provoking flick (and credited his fictional ‘brother’ Donald as co-writer, with them both receiving an Oscar nomination). For his stellar performance, Cage received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, and the dramedy was listed as one of the Top Ten Movies of the Year by the American Film Institute Awards.

6 The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Nic Cage laughs while Pascal sulks in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Lionsgate

Nicolas Cage starred alongside a great Pedro Pascal in the 2022 action meta-comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, in which Cage portrays a hilarious fictionalized version of himself who is paid a hefty sum to attend the birthday party of a wealthy and extremely dangerous superfan. Pascal plays the potentially deadly drug lord who wants to develop a screenplay with Cage in this strange, suspicious buddy comedy.

The actor initially had no desire to appear in the film, having told The Hollywood Reporter, “I wanted no part of it. But when I got Tom’s letter, then I thought, ‘OK, he’s not just trying to mock the so-called Nick Cage; there is a real interest in some of the earlier work. His tone was more of a celebration of some of [the actor’s iconic on screen] moments…” Writer and director Tom Gormican managed to convince the eccentric cage to tackle the fictional role of himself, in a playful and widely amusing way that had critics praising the star and the tongue-in-cheek comedy.

5 valley girl

valley girlAtlantic Releasing

Martha Coolidge’s 1983 teen romantic comedy valley girl is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and tells the story of San Fernando Valley resident Julie, a beautiful and popular girl who finds herself falling for Hollywood punk Randy despite the two coming from very different worlds and conflicting lifestyles. The ’80s flick was initially supposed to be a teen exploitation film to capitalize on the titular subculture stereotype, and was inspired by the Frank and Moon Unit Zappa song “Valley Girl.”

The playful picture featured Nicolas Cage and Deborah Foreman as the star-crossed lovers, and was the first of the former’s projects in which he was billed as Nicolas Cage and not Nicolas Coppola; the actor famously changed his name in order to avoid the appearance of nepotism in the industry. Valley Girl was a surprising success (earning a modest $17 million, which was great compared to its $350 thousand budget), but went on to earn a cult-like following, and was Cage’s first starring role.

4 Matchstick Men

Matchstick MenWarner Bros. Pictures

The revered Ridley Scott directed the 2003 dark comedy Matchstick Men, featuring the talent of Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, and Alison Lohman. The sly film follows phobic con artist Roy Waller and his partner-in-crime Frank as they prepare to pull of their most lucrative deception yet; their work becomes complicated when Roy’s estranged teenage daughter shows up to learn the family craft.

Related: Here Are Some of the Best Movies About Con Artists

The sharp and amusing comedy showcases Cage’s impressive performance as the obsessive-compulsive agoraphobe, who’s ordered and routine life is completely turned upside down with the arrival of his daughter. The Sydney Morning Herald raved about Scott’s exceptional screenplay and Cage’s refreshing performance, having said, “Cage is funny in his misery, because he has a natural air of exaggeration: he carries his own storm cloud with him, almost like a cartoon of the sad and lonely guys he played in Moonstruck and Raising Arizona.

3 moonstruck

Cher and Nicolas Cage in MoonstruckMGM / UA Communications

The Academy Award winning 1988 romantic comedy drama moonstruck Stars the sensational Cher as Italian-American widow Loretta Castorini, a bookkeeper from Brooklyn Heights whose life gets complicated when she falls for the hot-headed younger brother of her husband-to-be. Nicolas Cage portrays the fiery baker Ronny Cammameri, who becomes infatuated with Loretta when she shows up to his bakery in an effort to reconcile the two estranged brothers and invite him to their wedding.

Moonstruck was Cage’s big career breakthrough, with the actor being nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his commanding and spirited performance. The endearing flick was ranked as the eighth best picture in the romantic comedy genre by the American Film Institute and garnered critical acclaim upon its release for lively performances and sharp screenplay.

2 Honeymoon in Vegas

The wedding scene in Honeymoon in VegasColumbiaPictures

After losing $65,000 in a crooked poker game in Las Vegas, private investigator Jack Singer offers to let the wealthy con man Tommy Korman borrow his lovely fiancée for a Hawaiian getaway to pay off his debt in the 1992 romantic comedy Honeymoon in Vegas. Nicolas Cage stars as the commitment-fearing singer, who realizes his shortcomings as a partner and sets off to track down the pair before he loses the love of his life (a young Sarah Jessica Parker) forever.

Director and writer Andrew Bergman said that the rom-com “wasn’t based on anything. I wanted to do a boy-girl story, and in my perverse fashion, it turned out to be this.” Honeymoon in Vegas earned Cage his second Golden Globe nomination and though some criticized his performance for being exaggerated, Roger Ebert defended his delivery, writing, “Nicolas Cage is one of those actors some people like and others find excessive. I tend to like him, especially when he is consumed by love, as he was in Moonstruck and is here again.”

1 Raising Arizona

Raising Arizona20th Century Fox

A comedy from the Coen brothers in 1987, the surreal crime film Raising Arizona depicts the unconventional marriage between ex-con HI “Hi” McDunnough and former cop Edwina “Ed” McDunnough, who after discovering they cannot have children decide to steal one of furniture tycoon Nathan Arizona’s quintuplets. The dream team creators set out to make the picture completely different from their previous film Blood Simple, wanting to give it a more upbeat and hopeful vibe and writing the characters to be extremely sympathetic.

Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter headline the picture, starring alongside others like John Goodman and Frances McDormand; the relationship between Cage and the Coens on set was respectful yet stormy, with the actor frustrated at the lack of collaboration, having said that “Joel and Ethan have a very strong vision, and I’ve learned how difficult it is to accept another artist’s vision. They have an autocratic nature.” Despite the discord, Raising Arizona earned critical acclaim and has gone on to become a beloved Coen staple.

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