“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is a meta-concept movie of an actor playing a fictionalized version of himself. This has been done before, of course. But never in such a “Nick Cage” way! There is a lot of meta-humor in this movie, seeing that the main character is a fictionalized version of Nicolas Cage. Gee – I wonder who would be nuts enough to play that role?
There is a famous and successful actor in Hollywood, and his name is Nick Cage (played by — who else — Nicolas Cage). He has a broken marriage and debts up to the sky. He is totally devoted to the Art of Acting. There is a movie in the works that he truly, deeply, madly wants to be in as the main Star.
Cage gives a little impromptu audition in front of a Famous Director (cameo by David Gordon Green). He thinks he has the role nailed. But his manager named Richard Fink (played by Neil Patrick Harris) tells him they ‘decided to go in a different direction’ for the role. Cage is heartbroken. He visits his ex-wife Olivia Henson (played by Sharon Horgan) for his daughter’s birthday.
His daughter Addy Cage (played by Lily Sheen) is upset because Cage gets drunk and causes a scene. Cage calls Fink and leaves a voice message that is he quitting the business. But Fink says there is a one-time special event that needs nobody except Nick Cage. It turns out that a billionaire superfan named Javi Gutierrez (played by Pedro Pascal) wants Cage to be at his birthday party at his Spanish villa.
Oh, and he is willing to pay One Million Dollars (cue Dr. Evil clip here!). That sounds a bit weird, but Nick Cage agrees. He has too much debt to say no. Cage gets Javi’s private jet to his hidden location. There is a secret little CIA operation going on. The CIA and INTERPOL are chasing down a very dangerous arms dealer. They know Javi is the leader.
Vivian (played by Tiffany Haddish) and Martin (played by Ike Barinholtz) are needing a way to spy on Javi. Then in walks Nick Cage. Vivian convinces Cage that there are some deadly things that are going on. All Cage needs to do is stick around and try and get some intel from Javi. Yeah, should be a breeze.
Cage meets Javi, and they really get along really well. Cage has been in a slump for a long time, and Javi has enough superfan energy that he kicks Cage into high gear. Cage attends Javi’s birthday party as a special guest of honor. Cage meets Javi’s assistant Gabriela (played by Alessandra Mastronardi). There he also meets his cousin Lucas Gutierrez (played by Paco León).
Lucas does not seem as nice as Javi. Lucas might be in charge of some nasty side projects. Nick Cage is instructed by Vivian to try and get into a private room where Javi might be hiding information. There is a politician whose daughter has been kidnapped. Vivian and Martin believe that Javi is hiding her someplace.
Nick Cage almost gets caught, but he is able to get away. Javi decides to show Cage a screenplay that he has been working on. Cage loves the work, and he figures that he will not retire from acting — at least not until he gets to star in Javi’s movie. But there needs to be some work done to polish it up. Cage and Javi spend hours and hours over the screenplay, adding new ideas and making it even more bonkers.
Every once in a while Nick Cage is greeted, and harassed, by a MUCH YOUNGER ‘Nicky Cage’. This is the “Wild at Heart” 1990-era Cage, with all the crazy eyes and facial tics you could want. Young Cage berates his older self into being self-assured and assertive. This gets Cage to poke around even more into Javi’s other private rooms. Javi leads Cage into one that is a personal shrine — to ‘Nick Cage’. There are endless posters and props and odds and ends from every Nick Cage movie. Cage is very impressed!
Olivia Henson and Addy Cage are invited on the private jet to meet Javi and Cage. Javi thinks that once Cage gets things right with his ex-wife and his daughter, then the final acts of the script will be completed. But, there is some evil intent that is afoot. But is not anything Javi is doing.
The daughter of the politician is being held not far from Javi’s house. But Javi had nothing to do with that. Nack Cage and Javi, along with his assistant Gabriela are up for a battle against Javi’s nasty cousin Lucas. Nick Cage goes into full make-up to try and trick the Javi’s cousin and his men. Javi and Olivia, with Gabriela and Addy — they all are ready to help make a clean getaway.
But will it all go wrong? They all might be “Racing with the Moon”, and could wind up “Moonstruck”. They will be “Gone is 60 Seconds” if they don’t hit “The Rock”. They will “Drive Angry” and whip up a little “Kick-Ass” because they have “A Score to Settle”. They need to make an “Adaptation” so they can get back to the “City of Angels”. Easy as “Leaving Las Vegas”, they are able to get a “Time to Kill”, and can roll “Snake Eyes”…
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is the best remedy for a medical malady known as ‘Nicolas Cage Deficiency Syndrome’. There is more than the Recommended Daily Allowance of Nicolas Cage, and then some! Plus the added benefits of a dose of Pedro Pascal, which known to be a relaxing, smile enhancing medication.
This meta-to-the-max movie is a big heaping helping of the ‘Biggest Hits from Nicolas Cage’. With that title alone, you know they are up to some funny business with this movie. And they deliver time and time again. Nicolas Cage being asked to play a fictionalized version of himself is an awesome idea. Then to pair him with Pedro Pascal is also hilarious. These two play so well off each other; you would think they have been best friends for the past twenty years.
This shows that Nicolas Cage is not above doing a mild parody of his own career and his own acting style. It was fun to see quite a few of his movies get a shout out a quick reference in “Massive Talent”. He has such a long career in making movies that this was a fun part — figuring out all the Easter Eggs and nods back to a prior Cage film. The idea was fun, and it did get a bit on the creepy side when ‘Nick Cage’ shows up with a phantom friend ‘Nicky’ – a MUCH younger version of Cage from the “Wild at Heart” era. It takes a bit of Rage to De-Age the Cage!
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is the quintessential Nicolas Cage movie, giving him ample time to “Face/Off” against his fictional counterpart – ‘Nick Cage’. After all, there is no better way to treat such a “National Treasure”…
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Directed by: Tom Gormican
Written by: Tom Gormican, Kevin Etten
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, Sharon Horgan, Ike Barinholtz, Alessandra Mastronardi, Jacob Scipio, Neil Patrick Harris, Tiffany Haddish
Cinematography: Nigel Bluck
Edited by: Melissa Bretherton
Music by: Mark Isham
Distributed by: Lionsgate
Release date: April 22, 2022
Length: 107 minutes
MPAA rating: R for language throughout, some sexual references, drug use and violence
Genre: Black Comedy