Monday, June 6, 2022

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent: Movie Review

Fun, funny, clever and insane.
With that title and a premise involving Nicolas Cage playing a version of himself caught up in the trajectory of his own career who meets a Nic Cage super fan and they agree to write a movie together and end up in a real life action plot, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is exactly as fun and insane as it sounds, and possibly funnier than you would imagine.   2022

Directed by: Tom Gormican

Screenplay by: Tom Gormican

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal

Everything Cage does in this is funny, but it gets off on the perfect note and hooks the audience in right away. There’s a role in some big new Hollywood movie that Nick Cage desperately wants. The role of a lifetime. He wants to audition. The director meanwhile knows full well who Cage is and doesn’t need him to audition. He reads anyways – in a public restaurant, Nick Cage performs this super dramatic monologue. Cage’s ability to poke fun at himself without ever demeaning any of his work is thoroughly impressive. This is funny without being mean or even self-deprecating. It’s a tone that I previously wouldn’t have thought possible, but of course it fits Nicolas Cage like a glove.

This Nick Cage is just a version of himself (spelled “Nick” to differentiate from the real person) – his personal life modified for the sake of story. Nick Cage has an ex-wife and a daughter but he doesn’t pay attention to them since he’s so preoccupied with his acting career. Nick is terrified that his career is over and he’s going to be forgotten, so he might as well retire now so it’s at least seen as his decision. To pay the bills though, he’ll have to start doing birthday party appearances.

We’re off to beautiful Mallorca, Spain where the birthday party is for Javi (Pedro Pascal) a billionaire super-fan of Nick Cage who of course has written a screenplay and he wants Cage to read it. In Mallorca, Cage is immediately tracked down by two CIA agents (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz) who have concluded that Javi is a dangerous criminal mobster who has kidnapped a girl.

Essentially, Cage is pretending to write and make a movie with Javi while he works as a CIA spy to take down a gangster family. Unsurprisingly, this gets very silly by the end, but it stays very funny and clever for most of the movie. The references to Cage movies are endless – from using the actual gun from Face/Off to employing the same photo doubles technique from Adaptation when Cage plays two different versions of himself in the same scene. Big fans will recognize a hundred more references.

Nic Cage is arguably most famous for his action movies, but this movie really highlights his comedy chops. Director Tom Gormican has talked about balancing all of the different genres that Cage has acted in, and that’s definitely where the insane and chaotic energy comes from. There are some abrupt tonal shifts which only work as a comedy. It gets very silly when all of the meta storylines come together at the end, but overall, it’s very fun and funny and clever.

One of the Best of 2022