Nicolas Cage has said that he never wants to retire from acting, and after seeing this film, that’s fine by me!
A meta-movie that sees Nicolas Cage play a fictionalized version of himself, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent follows Cage as he struggles to justify continuing his acting career in an industry that seems to be passing him by. Soon contacted by a man named Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal), who offers him $1 million to be the guest of honor at his birthday party in Majorca, Spain, Nicolas Cage arrives abroad and immediately crosses paths with CIA agents Vivian (Tiffany Haddish) and Martin (Ike Barinholtz). Wanting to use Cage and his budding bromance with Javi to help take down Javi’s alleged arms dealing operations, Nicolas Cage must decide whether his friendship is worth sacrificing for the greater good, or if his connection with Javi — and eventually his estranged family — is too important to mess with.
First things first, Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal on-screen together are simply one of the best pairings to have graced the silver screen this year. From their delightful chemistry to their perfect back and forth conversations to Pascal’s infectious love for all things Nick Cage, I can’t stress enough how much fun I had seeing these two play opposite one another, and in a way, I’m hoping for a completely unnecessary sequel just so I can continue to enjoy their spot-on relationship.
Not to be outdone in his own movie, Nicolas Cage shines from beginning to end, with the fact that he was down to make a film about himself while playing himself — and do it without a hint of hubristic douchebaggery — is, in my book, a huge feat that couldn’t have been replicated by any random actor. Full of meta jokes, deep dives into Cage’s filmography, parallels to real-life happenings, and the general flow of a story that ends up tying itself closer to the idea of filmmaking than expected, this movie manages to become as unique as it is entertaining, despite there being a few issues I had with it along the way.
For as fun and fresh as most own the film is, I have to knock it a bit for some forced moments that are clearly only there to check off “Hollywood blockbuster” boxes. And although the random escalation of action and story beats feel off no matter how you cut it, the script is focused enough on Cage, his connection to Javi, and his surprisingly endearing family drama to have me look the other way, even if I still have to dock the final cut a few points because of it.
I have no idea how this movie came to be in the first place or how it didn’t turn into a pretentious mess by the time the credits rolled, but The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is not only a delightful moviegoing experience, but is a far better film than it has any right to be. The third act might purposely pile the action on a bit thick for the sake of the commentary being made, but otherwise, this one is well worth the watch despite a few missteps.