The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

It’s the role he was literally born to play. Nicolas Cage is Nicolas Cage — or at least a heightened version of his frenzied persona. Sometimes a high concept is enough. When The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent fully acknowledges its meta pretense, the movie is a hoot. However, a pedestrian action-comedy ultimately emerges from that facade of creative self-awareness. It’s enjoyable too, but not as clever as the idea of the actor playing himself as a movie star.

The conceit has Nick currently mulling over his career. The performer hasn’t had a good part in a while now and he is running out of money. He has a tense relationship with both his ex-wife Olivia (Sharon Horgan) and their daughter Addy (Lily Sheen). Occasionally he argues with a younger even more boisterous interpretation of himself called Nicky. Sorry, but the efficacy of de-aging technology using CGI is still highly questionable. After being passed over for a coveted film role, he decides he will retire from acting. But first, he’s going to accept a mysterious offer of $1 million to attend the birthday party of a billionaire playboy named Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal). Cage would be the guest of honor. The celebration is being held on the island of Mallorca, off the coast of mainland Spain.

UWOMT is a lot of things. When the script is focused on being a Hollywood satire, it’s a sly comment on the entertainer’s own acting choices and the current state of filmmaking. That wit is peppered throughout the film and I relished those moments. Cage has made a lot of movies. I expected Leaving Las Vegas and Face/Off references. The fact that even Guarding Tess and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin get a mention too was an amusing surprise. The screenplay co-written by director Tom Gormican with Kevin Etten is that thorough.

The heart beating underneath this spoof is a pleasant but formulaic action-comedy. Actor Pedro Pascal is indeed lovable as the wealthy super-fan. His admiration for Cage has a warmth that radiates sincerity. Javi Gutierrez also happens to be an international criminal. The true nature of his character is an ongoing concern for Nick. Javi may or may not have kidnapped the daughter of a presidential candidate. At one point, there’s a memorable reveal of a secret room in Javi’s compound that could’ve gone any number of ways. No spoilers here. I’ll only offer that the buddy aspects are superior to the criminal elements. The two bond over a certain beloved family movie. The pair have ample chemistry together to make this a winner. Now I think I’ll go rewatch Paddington 2.


4 Responses to “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”

  1. Eric Robert Wilkinson Says:

    I have seen this 3 times. It’s quite easy to watch but I was expecting a crazier funnier version which might exist out there… somewhere…nic cage us my favorite actor and although plenty of his better (and worse) career choices make appearances I was irked by the lack of his upper echelon B-sides like bringing out the dead 8mm or matchstick men… even his deaged alter ego wears a barely recognizable wild at heart t shirt under a black leather jacket…I guess he has eschewed his symbol of individuality and his belief in personal freedom? (It was supposed to be snakeskin!) Anyway I think a sharper script and a better director could’ve helped … maybe… still very enjoyable for what it was
    (Posted on a fb page that Paddington 2 is to cage as as good as it gets – or at least as Helen hunt was in that film- is to Jack nicholson…they didn’t get it. Tell me you comprendo)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that the film could’ve been funnier. So many creative paths they could’ve taken with this idea the things I could’ve. I think they went for the more predictable choice.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was expecting to like this. I did. I realized after seeing a movie where Nicolas Cage plays himself, he is a really good actor. He was so natural. Poking fun at himself was good too. The chemistry between Pedro and Nick was pretty great. 3 1/2 ⭐️

    Liked by 2 people

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