God Bless Nicholas Cage. ‘Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’ is a movie that most Hollywood actors would not dare to make. It’s not a mean-spirited film, butit must be difficult for an aging actor to be vulnerable in this way; where you play a slightly caricatured version of yourself being a “down-on-his-luck” actor. Nicholas Cage does it, and he’s also willing to put his entire career under the microscope for our enjoyment. The result? We get a unique, fun-take on a sort of buddy-spy comedy that celebrates the National Treasure that is Nick Cage. See what I did there?
It’s like a buddy cop-movie…with no cops
‘Unbearable Weight’ is the story of a semi-fictionalized/semi-real version of Nicholas Cage (played of course by himself). In this universe, Cage is still a well-known actor and star, but has fallen into a rut. He is having trouble balancing a struggling career and a relationship with his family; in particular his daughter Addy (Lily Mo Sheen). Upon losing out on another role, Nick’s agent (Neil Patrick Harris) presents him with a unique offer; $1 million to attend a rich super-fan’s birthday party in Spain. At first reluctant, Nick accepts the offer to go but also declares that he has retired from acting. Upon arriving in Spain, Cage meets Javi (Guttierez) the wealthy man who has asked him to come. After a couple of days, they strike up a fast friendship and decide to produce a film together.
Shortly after, Cage is approached by two CIA agents (Tiffany Haddish & Ike Barinholtz). They inform him that Javi is actually part of a large crime syndicate. They recruit Cage to help them find the daughter of a large political figure they believe that Javi has kidnapped. Cage now must choose between helping the CIA or prove (as he believes) that Javi is actually innocent.
For a movie about Nick Cage playing Nick Cage, it’s a bit more vanilla than expected
If I’m being honest, there isn’t a whole lot to the story here. With the driving factor of this movie being “Nick Cage playing Nick Cage” they didn’t have to swing for the fences with a compelling narrative for the movie to work. If you remove that aspect it’s just a typical spy-comedy film. The best thing that the story does is put Nicholas Cage in situations that would make an audience laugh. Other than that, it doesn’t need to be anything else. There are several scenes in the movie that are tremendously funny, but would work in many other contexts.
The script/story are serviceable in the sense that it gets Nick Cage from crazy scenario A to crazy scenario B without seeming too far-fetched. It allows us to enjoy the film for what it is without having to get bogged down in the details. The unfortunate part though is that the story is somewhat dull. Maybe it’s personal preference, but I would’ve loved to have seen a much more unhinged plot. Like ‘Mandy’ unhinged. Unfortunately, me getting what I want would likely alienate most movie-goers; so the vanilla plot is an asset.
I’ll say it; Pedro Pascal is a low-key sexy dude
Who would’ve thought Nicolas Cage playing himself would offer an amount of range that we couldn’t have predicted. He is able to show off incredible range while also being in on the joke and slightly self-deprecating. Everyone else in the film is solid as well; including Tiffany Haddish & Ike Barinholtz. Both are tragically under-used but they still do a great job.
To me, the absolute highlight of the movie is Pedro Pascal. He does such a good job of playing the like-able doofus to Cage’s like-able doofus. Usually that’s not a recipe for success, but Pedro Pascal still is able to elevate the star. For what it’s worth, Pedro Pascal also gets the biggest laugh; I won’t spoil what it is, but it has to do with taking LSD and being paranoid. My fiancé also noted after the film, “Pedro Pascal is low-key hot”. I 1000% agree.
It’s Short & Sweet and makes you laugh; You can’t ask for much more.
Although ‘Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’ is billed as a treat for Nicholas Cage fans, it never leans too heavily into absurdity like one might expect. You don’t have to be well-versed in his filmography to enjoy it. That being said, it also isn’t as original or creative as I would’ve hoped for. Its actors (especially Pascal) shine while the story in and of itself left a lot to be desired. It’s a fun, buddy-comedy with action and heart, but save for a few great moments between Cage & Pascal, it leans towards being a bit dull.
VERDICT: 3.5/5 Stars
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