#REVIEW: “THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
Nick Cage (my immortal spirit animal Nicolas Cage) is in a rut. He cannot land any new parts, he has a strained relationship with his daughter and his ex-wife, and he keeps having visions of Nicky, a shadow of his former self who incessantly taunts him over who he used to be. When he gets a $1-million offer to spend time with superfan Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal) for his birthday, Nick quickly accepts. What should be an easy high-paying gig turns into something else entirely however when Nick is recruited by the CIA to assist in a special mission.
There is no getting around it – the Synopsis for THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT is complete nonsense that becomes more outrageous with each new sentence. Yet, it makes for a wildly-entertaining Action-Comedy that is just as clever with its satirical meta-ness as it is an introspective piece on the cult of celebrity. That may sound like a lot to take in for a movie where an Oscar-winning Actor plays two exaggerated versions of himself (or is he?), yet it never feels disingenuous or like it is trying to be anything other than a glowing tribute to the man himself.
Did I mention that a pivotal plot point revolves around Paddington 2?
I will not give away much more than that, only to say Co-Writer/Director Tom Gormican is clearly having the time of his life playing in the Cage sandbox, and has a great eye for Comedy, Action and references to some of the Actor’s most prolific past work. Sure, MASSIVE TALENT gets a little too ridiculous in some sections and feels a little choppy in others – but much of that seems intentional given how the story plays out and that includes the underdeveloped Supporting Cast left languishing on the sidelines for large swaths of the Film. Those criticisms aside, I feel like the finer details of Gormican’s Script he co-wrote with Kevin Etten will positively flourish after another viewing or three.
While Sharon Horgan and Lily Mo Sheen (daughter of Michael Sheen and Kate Beckinsale) deliver solid work, the Film is very much the Pascal and Cage show. They are absolutely brilliant, whether they are working off of each other or are on their own. They feel dialed-into the nuances of the Script, and Pascal does a terrific job of avoiding going fully over-the-top. He knows his place in the story and effectively balances out the straight-faced scenes with the more fanboy heavy moments (a scene where the pair look at a room full of memorabilia is an absolute riot). Pascal would not be nearly as good if he did not have Cage standing beside him. The master Thespian delivers some of his best work in the past decade – yes, even better than he was in Pig – and really hones-in on the Film’s most satirical elements. He gets to be equally as dramatic as he gets to be hilarious here, and revels in getting to play two versions of himself. The deeper, darker moments are where Cage really shines, as do his genuine freak out scenes. He is in on the joke from the start, and it shows in just how committed he is to this wacky film.
In the end, THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT is a love letter and celebration of the man, the myth, the legend, Nicolas Cage, along with his films and the wild journey he has taken over his 40+ year acting career. Whether you are a newbie, a casual fan or someone who worships at the altar of all things Cage, you will have an uproariously good time watching this. He gets to have a lot of fun, both on his own and alongside a very game Pascal. Cage may have become fodder for Internet memes and gifs over the years, but the man never went anywhere. He has always been here; he is Nick fuckin’ Cage after all.
Mongrel Media unleash THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT on Friday, April 22, 2022.