The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a film that shouldn’t exist, yet somehow it does. I grew up watching Nicolas Cage films and have admired his work from a very young age. Valley Girl and Raising Arizona were my official introductions to the brilliance that is Nicolas Cage, and no matter how strange of a role he takes on, one thing is for sure, he always gives it his all. Yes, he has had some low points in his career, but as a whole, I don’t know any other actor who has had this iconic of a career. The man has starred in almost every genre imaginable and has played so many memorable characters, from Peter Loew to Charlie/Donald Kaufman. Cage is undoubtedly a legend and master of his craft. He is unlike any other actor working today, and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent confirms that.
The plot is pretty straightforward. Nicolas Cage playing himself, Nick Cage, is hoping to land the role of a lifetime to get his financials back on track. Unfortunately, Nick doesn’t get the part and is forced to accept an offer from a fan to fly to Mallorca to attend his birthday party in exchange for a million dollars. Little does Nick know that the man he is staying with, Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal), is wanted by the CIA. Soon after landing in Mallorca, the CIA recruits Nick to infiltrate a cartel connected to Javi, who has kidnapped the daughter of an elected official.
As much as I was looking forward to The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, part of me was very concerned that the film wouldn’t fully deliver on its premise or go so overboard that it would make it too difficult to appreciate. Luckily, writers Kevin Etten and Tom Gormican created a story that had a little bit of everything. Some hilarious over-the-top moments are sure to delight those dying to see “Rage Cage,” but those scenes are paired with scenes of action, humor, and heart.
Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal’s chemistry is spot-on from their first scene together. Their back and forth banter serves as one of the film’s greatest attributes. A good portion of the movie involves Nick and Javi simply hanging out, just like a buddy comedy from the 80s. As a viewer, you can tell they are having a blast together, but there is this palpable level of respect between the two actors. During the SXSW Q&A, Pedro mentioned that he was a massive fan of Cage’s career, which came across on-screen throughout.
Anyone familiar with the trailer for this film can tell it makes references to other Nicolas Cage films. Some of those references are mainstream and obvious to the average movie-goer, but any true Nick Cage aficionados will be in heaven. There are some deep cuts, and while I wouldn’t say you have to understand all of the references to appreciate the film, I think the film will be slightly more enjoyable for those who do. Weirdly, the references in the movie are on par with finding the easter eggs in a Marvel or DC Film.
While everyone may not be a Nicolas Cage fan, I do think most people who sit down and watch this film will enjoy it. Some of the jokes are very meta and won’t work for everyone. A Paddington 2 reference may not work for the average person, compared to how Film Twitter will react. Still, while not all of the jokes work, most of them land hard, making me forgive the film for any less than stellar moments.
I don’t think I’ll be alone when I say that Cage deserves a ton of credit for signing on to star in this project. It is not every day that you see an actor as established and beloved as he take on a role where a good percentage of the film is poking fun at a certain image. Cage has a great sense of humor and no problem acknowledging that not all of his roles as an actor have been home runs. In an industry filled with people with bloated egos, I cannot give Cage enough credit for agreeing to do this film. He even goes so far to play multiple versions of himself in certain scenes. These moments are as hilarious as they are brilliant. One scene, in particular, takes the phrase “self-love” to a whole new level.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is the ultimate Nicolas Cage experience. It delivers on everything one would expect and a whole lot more. I have so much respect for Cage for embracing this project and his career with such a great sense of humor. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is destined to become a cult classic with the potential of becoming the most quotable film of 2022. Nick Cage fans will definitely be coming back for seconds or thirds, as it’s easily one of the funniest films I’ve seen this year.