Like many aging stars, Nicolas Cage has gone from filling theaters with commanding box-office blockbusters, to filling ‘digital’ video shelves with a string of B-movies. Point being, Cage has always been here. I’ve seen probably fifteen new Cage movies over the past six years, so he’s been putting in some work. Admittedly, outside of a few indie gems in recent years like Pig and Willy’s Wonderland, most were not that great, despite Cage’s persistent charisma. So, it can be said that the great stars from cinema’s past don’t often, simply lose their talents. Many are just waiting for the right script to bring them back to the forefront. The Massive Weight of Unbearable Talent is without question that script for Nicolas Cage.
I was unsure of this movie when going in. Meta movies can be hit-or-miss but the writing from Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten delivers the complete package. Cage plays essentially an amplified version of himself. He’s a bit down and out in his career and looking for that big role to surge his career back to the top. After missing out on a potential project Cage heads to Spain where he meets a wealthy superfan played by Pedro Pascal, and a CIA agent played by Tiffany Haddish. Comedic turmoil ensues from there and the construct serves as the perfect playground for hilarity.
This movie is such a wildly enjoyable time because it has many layers all working on full cylinders. Cage is primed. He’s completely engaged, and the blend of self-awareness with his natural charisma brings this movie his best natural performance since…maybe The Weather Man back in 2005. Cage commands this movie, and where the material could easily come off as too hammy, in the hands of Cage, it comes off as sincere and authentic throughout all the comical absurdity to create a feel-good atmosphere. The movie pokes fun at the idea of the Hollywood star, Cage’s past success, and the concept of blockbuster movies, and it’s all delightfully entertaining.
Pascal pairs with him perfectly. I would have never imagined these two guys together but that’s why I’m a film critic and not a casting director. Cage and Pascal are like peanut butter and jelly in this story. Pascal knows exactly what this movie is. He and Cage both know the intention, and their comedic timing and how both play to the camera is world-class comedy. The story is filled with comical situations, sight gags, and amusing characters, but the dialogue and the subject matter overall is the gasoline that fuels the comical fire this movie provides from start-to-finish.
Structurally this story is built on a few traditional genre elements and from there the world of a hyper-realistic Nicolas Cage is layered over it to create something completely fresh and unique. There are times the progression may feel familiar, yet you never know where this story will go next, or what the characters will do, and it was a treat. There’s plenty of action and adventure with the CIA plotline. Plenty of Nicolas Cage nostalgia. With an endless fountain of comedy through the meta-Cage pipeline to give Massive Talent a smooth, easily engaging flow. The sense-of-humor is crisp, it’s razor sharp, and Cage returns to form as…himself. Making The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent a must-see comedy for fans who’ve taken the ride with Cage’s career, or for those who may want to learn more about his Hollywood legacy.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.