REVIEW: ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’ Is A Celebration of All Things Nic Cage

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The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is perhaps one of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen this year, and a large part of that is due to its star – who is none other than Nicholas Cage. Cage plays a fictionalized version of himself who is on the skids: he’s just lost out on a major role, he’s racked up immense amounts of debt, and he’s failing to connect with his daughter Addy (Lily Mo Sheen).

In desperation, Cage accepts an offer from his agent Richard Fink (Neil Patrick Harris): Fly to Spain for one week and attend the birthday party of billionaire/Cageamaniac Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal). But Cage is soon confronted by a pair of CIA agents (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz) who reveal that Javi is a ruthless drug lord and that they need his help in collecting evidence – a matter that isn’t helped by the fact that Javi and Cage form a genuine friendship.

What makes this movie work is the fact that Cage, who also serves as an executive producer on Massive Talent, and director/co-writer Tom Gormican understand that Cage’s career has been one that’s defied all expectations. Cage has been a bonafide action star with hits like The Rock and Con Air, but he’s also stretched his dramatic chops with fare including Pig and The Color of Space. He’s been the subject of debate among film fans; is he an underrated performer or has he been coasting on the Internet’s memefication of him?

This duality works its way into the film in a literal sense as Cage is often visited by a younger version of himself called “Nicky”, who boasts blonde hair, a leather jacket, and a burning desire to stay a “movie star”. These interactions are one of the highlights of the movie, as it gives Cage the chance to tap into the manic energy that’s defined some of his roles and the more subdued nuances he’s brought to his current roles.

The other standout of Massive Talent is Pascal, who jumps into the role of Javi with gusto. Javi is such a fan of Cage that he’s written a script for the superstar and has a room full of Cage memorabilia  – including a “grotesque” wax statue of Cage in Face/Off, complete with twin golden-plated Desert Eagles.

But Pascal and Cage have a great rapport, as they embark on all sorts of misadventures including an LSD-fueled road trip and a discussion on their favorite movies with a pick that’s sure to please plenty of film fans. Pascal gets to tap into his comedic chops, and I’d love to see him in more comedies if he ever hangs up Din Djarin’s armor. Honestly, I’d have watched a whole movie of these two hanging out, as it turns out to be more interesting than the espionage elements – though Gormican does deliver an action-packed climax and a car chase that puts Cage’s driving skills from Gone in 60 Seconds to the test.

Massive Talent - But Why Tho

And speaking of movies, a recurring subplot includes Cage and Javi working out the story of Javi’s screenplay, which gives the audience a peek into the filmmaking business but mainly serves as a way for Cage to work out his various issues. Cage says he wants to do a character-driven drama as opposed to an action-packed extravaganza, but he has issues with the third act – which Javi correctly identifies as him struggling to connect with his daughter. These moments provide the beating heart of the film and do so in a clever way that doesn’t tip into parody or smug winking at the audience. It’s a tricky balance, but Gormican and co-writer Kevin Etten manage to achieve said balance by writing to the cast’s strengths.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a wild, wonderful tribute to the career of Nicolas Cage as well as a love letter to filmmaking itself. If you’re a Cage fan, this film is for you. If you are a Pascal fan, this movie is for you. If you love movies in any shape, size, or form this movie is definitely for you.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent  is out now.


The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a wild, wonderful tribute to the career of Nicolas Cage as well as a love letter to filmmaking itself. If you’re a Cage fan, this film is for you. If you are a Pascal fan, this movie is for you. If you love movies in any shape, size, or form this movie is definitely for you.