Nicolas Cage’s life has been somewhat of a meme over the last few years but after falling into debt hell, he is back with another movie that sheds a light on probably his favorite subject, himself.
The days of 20 million dollar blockbusters are long gone for Cage at least for the time being but Cage stated he has no plans of stepping away from smaller budget movies which bring us to Lionsgate’s “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” which may very well go down as the most Nicolas Cage movie of all time…for better or worse.
The film begins with Actor Nicolas Cage playing a fictionized version of himself. His career is in the toilet after failing to land a role he was truly passionate about, he has an estranged relationship with his daughter (Lily Sheen) and ex-wife (Sharon Horgan), and he ultimately wants to give up acting altogether.
One day he receives a $1 million offer to attend the birthday of Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal) a billionaire super fan of his. With his debts piling up, he decides to take the offer and spend the weekend with him. Things take a wild turn when Cage discovers that Javi may not be the man he expected him to be and gets entangled in a scheme to extricate his wife and daughter from the fan who is a notorious drug lord.
It’s pretty much assumed that if you are going to see this movie, you are already a huge Nicholas Cage fan. For those looking for a wild and wacky cult-like comedy here, you won’t get it because despite the title, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is a straightforward film. Cage plays a version of himself that is likely closest to a Hollywood actor 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, once again, you are expected to know a lot of Cage going into the movie. The film is great as a bromance comedy with many 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. Cage along with his co-star Pedro Pascal play well off of each other making for a very endearing duo.
The problem with the movie begins when it tries to have a plot. The entire angle of druglords and intelligent agencies is extremely contrived for the sole purpose of justifying its existence. If the film was a bit smarter, they could have done a lot more with this concept 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 and their roles add nothing to the film in terms of comedy or plot. Every time the film pitches it back to the subplot, a great drop in quality is noticeable almost like the film is coming to a screeching halt.
We don’t get much out of Sharon Horgan & Lilly Sheen as well who are only in the movie to present Cage’s family dilemma. “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, this is a film that needed to be fleshed out more. Some of the elements work like Cage’s fighting his inner movie star bit which is very funny but when you get to the meat and potatoes of the script, there are many better routes the film could have taken but didn’t.
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” isn’t a bad movie but it is not very good either.