April 22nd, 2022
MOVIE: THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT
STARRING: NICOLAS CAGE, PEDRO PASCAL, TIFFANY HADDISH, IKE BARINHOLTZ
DIRECTED BY: TOM GORMICAN
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
The first fear I had about The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is that it feels wrong to commodify the artistry of Nicolas Cage. For most film critics, we have been aware of how excellent his career longevity has mattered in cinema for five decades, so when a movie grabs onto that career and turns it into a meta comedy, my hope is that it won’t water down his greatness. To that I say, have no fear, as The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent not only nails the reason why Nicolas Cage is the best, but ushers in a new layer of why he’s the greatest working actor of my generation. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a delightful new comedy that showers praise for Nicolas Cage and a gentle reminder that Nicolas Cage can do it all.
The bucket of praise for Massive Talent belongs to writer/director Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten, who have concocted a whip-smart screenplay, taking the persona of Nicolas Cage and creating a fresh take of what it means to be an actor today. The first scene involves a person kidnapped while watching Con Air– setting a tone that we hope someone out there could save them. We then move to a scene of Nick Cage (played by Nicolas Cage, yeah, that guy) meeting with director David Gordon Green for lunch in Beverly Hills. He has hopes of landing a role in Green’s next big movie and he really needs this. His career is fine, as he states, it’s not like Cage ever stopped working, but he tells his agent Fink (Neil Patrick Harris) that he needs something new. Sensing the desperation, his agent tells him a billionaire super fan named Javi Gutierrez would pay one-million dollars for Nick to attend his birthday, which Cage says yes to. He hopes it can refresh him, give him a chance to revive his relationship with daughter Addy (Lily Mo Sheen), and prove to his ex-wife (Sharon Horgan) that he can be a good responsible dad.
As soon as Cage arrives in Mallorca, it’s revealed to him that the CIA is currently tracking Javi, placing Nick Cage in a position to help them locate the kidnapped victim. The agents are Vivan (Tiffany Haddish) and Martin (Ike Barinholtz), who are not happy to see the Pig star arrive, but use him to get close with Javi to figure out the criminal operation. What they didn’t expect is that Cage and Javi would get close over their love of cinema, putting Cage in a hilarious string of situations where he must use his acting skills to play super-spy, and enjoy the company of his new best friend.
From a narrative standpoint, what impressed me most was the restraint that Massive Talent shows, never letting the comedy become too wacky. The tone starts with the expected Nick Cage flying off the handle, where he has visions of his Wild at Heart alter ego Nicky, but when Cage connects with Javi it becomes an expression of male bonding. It also becomes male bonding over the greatness of Nicolas Cage. The performance by Pascal is like a kid meeting his hero, a constant smile from ear to ear, proud to show off his Nicolas Cage memorabilia. The pair of these two is a match made in buddy comedy heaven.
And then there is the versatility of Nicolas Cage. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a celebration of the actor, and his career, but it’s also another reminder that he can carry a great comedy. The meta nature of the film is reminiscent of comedies such as Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, Top Secret, Last Action Hero, and The Nice Guys. Yes, there is the inevitable build up to the climax, where Cage must become the hero in his own situation, but even that has delightful moments of entertainment. It feels like audiences can finally bond over something great and it’s all because of Nicolas Cage. That’s one massive talent.
THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT IS IN THEATERS FRIDAY APRIL 22ND, 2022
3 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady