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The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Review: Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal’s film is absurdity at its wittiest
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Cast: Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Director: Tom Gormican
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Stars: 3.5/5
Bonkers! If there ever was a word to aptly summarise the meta comedy-thriller fest, that is The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Nicolas Cage being an even more “over the top” (than was thought possible!) fictionalized version of well, himself, and an endearing act by the always dependable Pedro Pascal, the audience is promised a cinematic experience of ludicrous levels. But does the Tom Gormican directorial deliver on its ambitious promise? Let’s find out!
As mentioned above, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent chronicles the narcissistic shenanigans of Nic Cage; a divorcee in a fractured equation with his ex-wife Olivia Henson (Sharon Horgan) and their 16-year-old daughter Addy Cage (Lily Sheen), due to his overindulgence in talking about himself and himself only, and whose career is simultaneously dwindling down at rapid pace with plenty of debts in tow. When a role he was vying for, in the hopes of reviving his downward acting trajectory, is a no go, Nic dramatically comes to the conclusion that it’s time to hang his megalomaniac boots and retire. In an attempt to make quick big bucks, 1 million dollars worth, Nic begrudgingly obliges to whisk off to Mallorca to attend billionaire Javi Gutierrez’s (Pedro Pascal) birthday bash.
Unbeknownst to Nic, Javi is a huuuuge fan of Nic Cage, the enigma, and was hoping for the Hollywood actor to star in a screenplay written by him. While the movie heads to the fun territory of a delectable bromance between the unlikely duo, with Javi being the much-needed “Ted Talk-er” to boost Nic’s injured self-conceit, a few storylines are sprinkled throughout it because a movie’s narrative has to have a conclusion. This includes Nic reluctantly spying on Javi on behalf of the CIA – with Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz as CIA agents Vivian and Martin – after it’s known to him that Javi could be a crime lord who’s kidnapped the Catalan President’s daughter to influence the upcoming elections. But, given Javi’s charming innocence, Nic is stuck in a hard and rock place as he ventures into the role of a lifetime, a real-life James Bond with an obvious Nic Cage twist.
Given the meta-ness of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, Nicolas Cage is “all in” when it comes to his over the top performance that blurs the line between fact and fiction, almost like second nature, an instant treat for Nicolas Cage enthusiasts and trolls, in equal proportion. Whether it be in cult classics or absolute disasters, Nicolas Cage has treated every movie he’s starred in with theatrical curiosity and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is no different! Given the exuberant enthusiasm infused in glorifying the media’s perception of him as “THE” Hollywood star, alongside his loyal ‘meme’ fandom, Nicolas has the time of his life as Nic Cage, and that translates handsomely throughout. What’s funnier is how we get a younger de-aged version of Cage as Nicholas’ brash alter-ego constantly berating him with false promises of lost stardom. It’s almost The Nicolas Cage Show, almost…
In tandem, we have Pedro Pascal, whose so damn delightful as Javi, that at times, he steals the scene right from under Nicolas, a feat hard to achieve given the latter’s reel eccentricities the audience has come to cherish over time. Pedro adds genuine intrigue to the possible cruel intentions of Javi, where you’re constantly wondering if he really is the bad guy or not. Even his extreme acting moments, somehow, are subtle like fine wine. Sans a Mandalorian helmet or a DC villain backstory, Pedro is allowed to play the field without any distractions and he excels in spades. In the movie, Nic and Javi discuss adding a hook point to add to the screenplay of their dream project together. In the case of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, the hook is Nic and Javi’s bromance, which is a hoot and a half! Nicolas and Pedro play off of each other and produce wild chemistry you’re rooting for through and through, especially in their hilarious version of meaningful monologue-ish heart-to-hearts. From the duo being on acid and really (albeit hilariously) acting out action sequences to possibly be added to their dream movie to an actual thrill-seeking chase sequence toward the climax, it’s Cage and Pascal’s sequences together that are the ultimate highlight in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. This is both a boon and a curse for the movie.
Why? On the one hand, the audience is satiated enough just seeing Nicolas and Pedro on the big screen, developing a memorable cinematic friendship over long drives of aesthetic pleasure and inspiring conversations, with Javi fanboying over Nic in an intense fashion, even having a walk through Javi’s Nicolas Cage memorabilia room. On the other hand, in order to add obstacles to the flourishing friendship, various story arcs are interlaced, alas, with no depth attached. While Sharon and Lily are the perfect fit to play Nic’s disgruntled ex-wife and daughter, and they do a decent job at it too, they really don’t have much to play with, except to add more gravitas to Nic Cage, the hidden man behind the actor. Even Neil Patrick Harris as Nic’s agent Richard Fink, along with Tiffany and Ike, aren’t allowed to truly awaken their comic timing because all they’re really there to do is dramatically sigh to Nic’s impish personality traits. Alessandra Mastronardi and Jacob Scipio as Javi’s love interest and cousin Gabriela and Carlos fall into similar uneven characteristics tendencies.
In spite of the obvious loopholes, director-writer Tom Gormicon (with Kevin Etten as co-writer) take absolute advantage of Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal, the performers, who can make magic out of the preposterous. And make it genuinely funny too! While some dialogues are bang on the comedy game, rousing roaring laughter from the audience even, some wouldn’t work as well if not for Cage and Pascal’s acting adaptability. Ultimately, while The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent celebrates Nicolas Cage (with inserted clippings of and constant references to his classics and not so classics, but never limiting the target audience to just the Nic Cage faithful-s), it also pays an amusing homage to cinephiles and movies, as an art, at large. It showcases why we love cinema and larger than life stars like Nicolas Cage.
In finality, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is “OTT” absurdity at its wittiest! The movie basically proves that we’re willing to watch Nicolas Cage in anything, even as himself! That’s the star power he holds, decades past! “Not that Nic went anywhere!“