REVIEW – “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”

Even if you’re not well-versed into the extensive and ever-expanding filmography of Nicolas Cage, there’s no doubt that you’ve not only seen at least *one* film he stars in but know about his presence in meme culture. So no matter whether you love him in a majority of his films, have only seen a handful, or just know him from the memes that have been made in his honor, there’s something here for everyone as The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is first and foremost a genuinely hilarious, often-times sweet, and deeply entertaining comedy starring Nicolas Cage as himself. However, beneath the surface, there’s something genuinely impressive and fascinating about how the film depicts the man behind the curtain of all of this and how he grapples with the art he has created and how it affects not only himself but everyone he meets.

The film follows ‘Nick Cage’ as he is trying to find the perfect comeback performance, even though he insists that he’s never been anywhere anytime someone asks him where he’s been. His ex-wife Olivia (Sharon Horgan) and daughter Addy (Lily Mo Sheen) are getting more and more frustrated with him as he prioritizes his auditions over his personal life. However, one job offer does come up, as his agent Richard (Neil Patrick Harris) tells him of a somewhat unusual request – to make an appearance at the birthday party for a wealthy-superfan of his named Javi (Pedro Pascal) in Mallorca, Spain and get a million-dollar payday just for doing so. What starts off as a bumpy trip for Nick turns into a genuinely pleasant escape from Hollywood as he bonds with Javi over cinema and mutual passions. Howver, it quickly gets complicated when two CIA agents (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz) tell Nick of their suspicions that Javi has ties to a deadly crime organization.

There’s a lot of spinning plates here – first and foremost being the self-referential humor that is done in a very digestible and often-times genuinely hilarious way. But the most surprising element of the film for me is the chemistry between Pedro Pascal and Nicolas Cage, as they share one of the most delightful and genuinely sweet friendships I’ve seen on-screen in a very long time. Every sequence where they’re able to riff off one another is so much fun, as they both immediately click on-screen together but also deliver two separately fantastic comedic performances. Their great chemistry with one-another also helps the underlying drama and mystery of whether or not Javi has underlying motives feel all the more impactful as Nick is forced to make decisions on who he trusts.

There are some moments closer to the third act where the film feels like it might be spinning one too many plates as the plot becomes just a bit too sporadic and convoluted for its own good, but it quickly wins you back over with its heart, wit, and a surprisingly entertaining story at its core. Too often in studio comedies the plot feels like a burden to get through, but this film wisely knows (and even references) that the humor and story can both progress in equal-measure so it feels like a fully-rounded film in terms of balancing tone and genre. All of it comes together for one of the most entertaining films I’ve seen in quite sometime; a genuinely feel-good, popcorn flick that is a massive crowd-pleaser that will make you want to go on a Nicolas Cage binger.


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