The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent Review: The Nicolas Cage Experience Needs Direction

Nicolas Cage (“Nick Cage”) enjoys a cocktail in Mallorca, Spain in THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT. Photo Credit: Katalin Vermes/Lionsgate

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” isn’t the most marketable film title in history but movies are sold by its stars and there isn’t a more marketable name than Nicolas Cage.

Tiffany Haddish (“Vivian”, left) snaps a selfie with Nicolas Cage (“Nick Cage”, right) while undercover at the airport in THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT. Photo Credit: Karen Ballard/Lionsgate

Nicolas Cage’s life has become something of a meme over the last few years due to the wild roles and insane premises he has been involved with all the last few years. From films like “Mandy” that can only be described as unhinged to movies such as “Willy’s Wonderland” where Cage doesn’t speak a single word for the entire film. Cage’s VOD career has been a wild ride, to say the least.

But here in 2022, Cage is out of debt and there is no role is as wild as playing himself. The days of $20 million blockbusters are long gone but Cage has stated he has no plans of stepping away from smaller budget movies. Lionsgate’s “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” may very well go down as the most Nicolas Cage movie of all time…for better or worse.

Nicolas Cage as Nic Cage in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Photo Credit: Katalin Vermes/Lionsgate

The Story

 The film begins with Actor Nicolas Cage playing a fictionized version of himself. After bombing a meeting with a director and failing to land a role he was truly passionate about, his career is in the toilet.

The persona of “movie star” continues to eat away at Cage when his reality is far from superstar status. He has an estranged relationship with his daughter (Lily Sheen) and ex-wife (Sharon Horgan) due to the fact he constantly puts her career ahead of his family.

His agent can’t land him a satisfactory role and his bills are piling up fast. At a crossroads, Cage ultimately decides to give up acting altogether. 

Nicolas Cage (“Nick Cage”, left), Lily Sheen (“Addy”, center) and Sharon Horgan (“Olivia”, right) lay together in the living room as they watch a movie in THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT. Photo Credit: Katalin Vermes/Lionsgate

Shortly after, however, he receives a $1 million offer to attend the birthday celebration of Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal) a billionaire super fan of his. Cage decides to take the offer and spend the weekend with Javi on his compound and discovers that his fandom of Cage is bigger than he anticipated.

Javi and Cage develop a friendship once they realize how much they have in common. But things go off the rails when Cage discovers that Javi may not be the man he thinks he is.

Cage gets entangled in a scheme to extricate the daughter of a Catalonian separatist politician believed to be kidnapped by Javi. Cage becomes torn between his morals and his new best friend. 

Nicolas Cage (“Nick Cage”, left) and Pedro Pascal (“Javi”, right) escape their enemies in THE UNBERABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT. Photo Credit: Karen Ballard/Lionsgate

Bright Spots

It’s assumed that if you are going to see this movie, you are already a huge Nicholas Cage fan. “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is a straightforward film. Cage plays a version of himself that audiences assume that Cage is like in real life, a complete wildman who is obsessed with his career. 

The film survives on the chemistry of Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal. When the duo is on-screen together, everything clicks. The comedy is pretty solid from a meta-perspective, a bromance comedy based on the fandom that is Nicolas Cage. There are plenty of funny gags such as Cage drunkenly serenading his daughter at her birthday party, getting super paranoid during a bad trip on Acid, and making out with his younger inner alter ego. 

Nicolas Cage as Nic Cage and Pedro Pascal as Javi in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Photo Credit: Katalin Vermes/Lionsgate

Pedro Pascal is a wonderful co-star for Cage. Pedro as Javi loves Nicolas Cage movies and owns a massive collection of Cage memorabilia. The two get the idea to write a movie together that is every bit as ridiculous as the actual movie.

The film has numerous callbacks to Cage’s classics like The Rock and National Treasure, in many ways it is a love letter to his own career up to this point. When the movie stays with Cage and Pascal as a duo, it absolutely works. The problem arises with everything else. 

Weak Spots

The problem with the movie begins when it tries to follow the formula of a traditional movie. The entire angle of drug lords and intelligent agencies is extremely contrived for the sole purpose of justifying the film’s own existence. If the film was a bit smarter, a lot more could have been done with the concept of a meta-action comedy without having to rely on traditional movie tropes. 

The supporting cast doesn’t add anything to the film. Ike Barinholtz and Tiffany Haddish play the role of generic CIA agents. Not only are they not funny but their roles add nothing to the film in terms of the plot. Every time the film redirects the audience back to the subplot, the drop in quality is so noticeable its almost like the film is coming to a screeching halt. 

Pedro Pascal as Javi and Nicholas Cage as “fictionalized version of himself” in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Katalin Vermes/Lionsgate

Sharon Horgan & Lilly Sheen are underutilized to present Cage’s family dilemma but their presence is eliminated in the film’s 2nd act entirely.

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” comes off as a film that sounds great in a pitch meeting and it may have been hard to turn down with Cage himself pitching it but at the end of the day, its a movie in desperate need of direction.

The Verdict

Some of the elements of the film work such as Cage fighting his inner movie star which is good for a laugh or two, but the meat and potatoes of the script leave a lot to be desired. “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” isn’t a bad movie but it is not very good either.

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