- Directed by Tom Gormican
- March 12, 2022 (SXSW) / April 22, 2022 (US)
Needing cash after losing out on a part, Nick Cage takes a paid gig at a rich superfan’s birthday party and soon finds himself working for the CIA.
I went into The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent with very high expectations. I’m talking very high. It just seemed like such a bizarre and meta-idea that it could not be bad. While it did not reach the levels to which I built it up, it was certainly entertaining but not as strange as one would think given the trailer.
While this is not the mind blowing experience I thought it would be, it’s very entertaining and rather charming. The film acts as a sort of self-examination of Nicolas Cage by the actor himself. It’s doesn’t seek to tear him down but lovingly looks at hit him warts and all. It pokes fun because it likes him and not because it wants to undo him in the public mind.
The concept of this film is somewhat of a variation on being John Malkovich. It’s a real person playing a fictional version of themselves with things getting very weird. They have fun with what they got and they get some pretty good jokes in during the course of the story.
Nicolas Cage plays Nick Cage. That goes without saying. This film seems to be Cage and the creators commenting not only on his life but his career. There are allusions to his high film output as well as him managing his money poorly. The man in real life has plunked down some serious coin on some unusual stuff.
Cage goes full gonzo Cage in his performance. And that is something he can do better than anybody else. He is a unique performer and he channels much of his unique energy parodying himself. Heck he even plays one of his characters (Memphis Raines from Gone in 60 Seconds) as part of a weird internal monologue.
Cage is a divorced father who has a strained relationship with his daughter. His ego and need to mold his daughter Addy (Lily Sheen) into a version of himself has brought his career to a dead end causing him to quit acting after losing a part in a David Gordon Green (playing himself) movie.
Enter billionaire superfan Javi Gutierrez played by Pedro Pascal in a scene stealing performance. Javi worships Cage and has him up on a pedestal. Javi worships Cage which feeds into Nick’s ego. Nick is just about everything Javi ever wanted and thought he could be. It’s a match made in heaven. This is perhaps one of the best bromances I have ever seen on film. It’s equal parts funny and sweet. These two characters genuinely love and adore each other in a platonic way.
Of course this isn’t just a movie about Cage hanging out with Javi. Enter two CIA agents (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz) who thinks that Javi is an arms dealer and recruits Nick Cage to help them bring down Javi as well as rescue the Catalonian presidential candidate’s daughter so he doesn’t drop out of the race and give the gun running organization free reign in Catalan.
What I like is that the CIA agents involved have trouble embracing the absurdity of their own situation even though they are living it. They know just how weird it is to have Cage helping them out.
A comedic highlight of the film is when Javi who is attempting to get Nick Cage’s creative juice’s flowing again as he feels Cage is creatively bankrupt gives Cage some LSD. It’s just a bizarre and weird scene that was only hinted at in the trailer. I do wish the film had gone more into the comedy and the absurdity of the concept. The story had a promising start and could’ve easily moved into heavy weirdness but it didn’t. As it stands it’s just pretty strange.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a very entertaining and very original film. There are a few things better than watching Nicolas Cage playing Nicolas Cage. It is not perfect but manages to overcome those imperfections. If you haven’t seen this, I suggest you should.