Nic Cage Easily Carries 'The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent'

Directed by Tom Gormican

Starring Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, Ike Barinholtz, Neil Patrick Harris, Tiffany Haddish, Sharon Horgan, Lily Sheen

BY Rachel HoPublished Apr 19, 2022

It's been no secret that Nicolas Cage has spent the better part of the last 20 years paying off millions in debt, causing him to be less, shall we say, selective in his film choices (save for some tragically overlooked films like Joe and Mandy). This led to the once heavily sought after leading man being relegated to a punchline among critics and audiences. Now debt-free and eager, Cage brings us the cumulation of his rise and fall in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, a meta-comedy-action film that is as stupid and ridiculous as it is moving and fun.

Playing a heightened version of himself, Nic Cage is Nick Cage, a once-fledging actor now struggling to find roles he truly wants to do. He has an impending divorce with makeup artist Olivia (Sharon Horgan) to worry about ,and his teenage daughter Addy (Lily Sheen) finds him absent and narcissistic. Nick is feeling the pressures of his financial responsibilities when his agent Richard Fink (Neil Patrick Harris) reaches out to him about a job from an eccentric billionaire and Cage super-fan Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal), who offers Nick $1 million to attend his birthday party in Mallorca. Nick begrudgingly leaves the City of Angels for the Spanish island and soon finds himself, and his family, in real danger while trapped in paradise.

Unbeknownst to Nick, Javi is believed to be a lord of war by the CIA and behind the kidnapping of a Spanish politician's daughter. While Nick and Javi bro down, CIA agents Vivian (Tiffany Haddish) and Martin (Ike Barinholtz) investigate Javi and soon recruit Nick as their on-the-ground asset. As Nick attempts to find evidence in Javi's estate, the two fast friends are forced to face off in a truly kickass chase around Mallorca. 

Massive Talent is positively brimming with Cage references, including the constant presence of Nicky, a de-aged Cage circa Wild at Heart acting as Nick's subconscious. Javi even has a vault filled with Cage merchandise, movie scripts and life-size models that Nick walks through with wonder, disgust and pride. Massive Talent is as heavy-handed a film as it gets, but in the context of Nic Cage playing Nick Cage, who must become as wild and badass as characters like Cameron Poe, it somehow fits. 

What works most in Massive Talent is the undeniable chemistry between Cage and Pascal. Pascal's palpable adoration for Cage is evident, and their willingness to have fun in the roles adds to the playfulness and helps audiences buy into the movie's far-fetched premise and execution. Conversely, comedians Haddish and Barinholtz are underserved in the film and don't have a great rapport, which will make audiences wish their scenes would be gone in 60 seconds.

There are some incredible laugh-out-loud moments in Massive Talent, and the action sequences are pretty solid. But the heart of the film lies in Cage's performance as a family man wanting to do right by his soon-to-be ex-wife and daughter. How much of the story is actually true to life is up for debate, but Cage lends a softness to the film that is a welcome break from the absurd. 

Last year, Cage delivered one of 2021's best films in PIG, and with Massive Weight, he officially welcomes us into the new era of his career. And regardless of how one feels about Cage's movies, the man really is a national treasure. Massive Weight represents a bygone time when films were unabashedly loud, nonsensical and absent of logic, and serves as a great reminder that behind the explosions and ham-fisted one liners has always been a great actor in on the joke whose sole purpose it has been to entertain.
(Focus), (Mongrel Media)

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