Nicolas Cage stars as… Nick Cage in the action-comedy “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.” Creatively unfulfilled and facing financial ruin, the fictionalized version of Cage must accept a $1 million offer to attend the birthday of a dangerous superfan (Pedro Pascal). Things take a wildly unexpected turn when Cage is recruited by a CIA operative (Tiffany Haddish) and forced to live up to his own legend, channeling his most iconic and beloved on-screen characters in order to save himself and his loved ones. With a career built for this very moment, the seminal award-winning actor must take on the role of a lifetime: Nicolas Cage.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
Overall I quite liked The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. It has its flaws, but everyone is in on the joke and Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal have excellent chemistry together. It’s very self-referential and is equal parts buddy comedy and fish-out-of-water storytelling mixed with some road trip comedy and action comedy.
Nicolas Cage plays a version of himself in the film and is not shy about his life. He doesn’t hide that he’s done some out there movies, did a lot of movies for financial reasons, but is also a genuinely talented actor who was one of the biggest movie stars in the world, not that he’s gone anywhere (watch the movie and you’ll get that reference). He wants to go back to important roles, but his agent convinces him he needs the money so he takes a job for $1 million and all he has to do is appear at a birthday party for a rich superfan named Javi (The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal).
He flies out to the man’s compound, but the CIA is also watching Javi because they think he’s an arms dealer. They convince “Nick Cage” he must spy on Javi while there because the daughter of a politician has been kidnapped and Cage is the only person who can help. Javi is told Cage is spying on him after the two bonded and the third act turns into an action flick those of us who enjoyed Cage’s 1990s flicks will love.
There is a lot to like about the film. Cage followed up the fantastic Pig from last year with another solid performance here. He knows he’s kind of making fun of himself and fully embraces it. Despite enjoying The Mandalorian I’m not a huge Pedro Pascal fan (for personal reasons), but I have to admit he’s really good here. Him and Cage have tremendous chemistry together and the film is at its best when the two are on screen together.
About the only real negative for me is that Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz are ultimately unnecessary. They play the government agents that convince Cage to spy on Pascal, but the characters could have been played by anyone. They are one-dimensional characters that don’t bring a whole lot to the table for two actors known for comedy. They have some jokes, but the comedy comes from Cage and Pascal and the predicaments more than anything else.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a very good non-IP film. The movie itself takes shots at Marvel and Disney films and this movie proves we need more movies based on new ideas and not as many based on established intellectual property. Sure it’s a movie about Nic Cage movies, but it’s also refreshing, light and fun. It’s a film I can 100% see myself watching again and revisiting from time to time. I wanted to like it going into it and I did, but not only that, I liked it more than expected. For Nic Cage fans it’s definitely…
CAST & FILMMAKERS:
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Tiffany Haddish, Pedro Pascal, Sharon Horgan, Lily Mo Sheen, Neil Patrick Harris
Directed by: Tom Gormican
Written by: Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten
Produced by: Nicolas Cage, Samson Mucke, Kevin Turen, Kristin Burr, Mike Nilon
RATING: Rated R for language throughout, some sexual references, drug use and violence
RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes
RELEASE DATE: April 22, 2022