Tuesday 7 June 2022

REVIEW: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022) - Starring Nicolas Cage & Pedro Pascal

Review by Jon Donnis
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent sees Nicolas Cage play a fictionalized version of himself. And that alone is enough for me to want to watch this film.

Hollywood actor Nicolas Cage has found himself in a bit of a slump career wise, he is being passed over for big movie roles, and is being haunted by Nicky Cage  (credited by Cage's birth name Nicolas Kim Coppola) who is based on a version of Cage that appeared in a real-life interview with Terry Wogan from when he was promoting the film Wild at Heart. Watch that at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xf3OgWVkzlI so you understand a bit more about the character.

Cage also has an ex-wife, Olivia (Sharon Horgan) and daughter Addy (Anna MacDonald), who have grown somewhat tired of Cage's Hollywood lifestyle and neglect. Cage loses another movie role and embarrasses himself and his family at Addy's birthday party. This leads to Cage deciding to retire from the movie industry. But out of nowhere an offer of $1m comes in from his agent Richard Fink (Neil Patrick Harris), but he needs to travel to Majorca to meet a billionaire Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal) who happens to be a Cage super-fan and appear at his birthday party.

Javi reveals that he wants to create an improvisational movie based on a script that he wrote. At first Cage is not interested, but Javi persists and eventually bonds with Cage, and wins him over with his super fan knowledge and collection of Cage memorabilia. 

Cage is soon approached by CIA agents Vivian (Tiffany Haddish) and Martin (Ike Barinholtz). They believe that Javi is a criminal mastermind and head of an arms dealing cartel, as well as being behind the kidnapping of Maria, the daughter of a politician, who Javi wants to drop out of an upcoming election. Cage doesn't believe the agents at first, but is convinced to go undercover and find out the goods on Javi.

What follows is a sometimes strange, sometimes funny, but always entertaining film.

After the first 20 minutes I have to admit, I wasn't really "getting" the nature of the film. We have all seen films where an actor plays a fictionalised version of themselves, JCVD instantly comes to mind. And at first, I just thought this film wasn't working, but suddenly out of nowhere I found myself totally engrossed. I was laughing at the funny parts, I was enjoying the action scenes, and I was enthralled by the performance of Nicolas Cage, who is just brilliant. His performance is just enough of crazy, but not ridiculously over the top or overly parody. They really found the right level here.

Pedro Pascal is also excellent as Javi, and through the film, the bond between him and Cage is so fun to watch. Yes, it is silly, but it is entertaining, and that is all that matters. In some ways the film is a platonic love story between Javi and Cage.

The Good
The film is brilliant, great action scenes, excellent chemistry between Pascal and Cage, and a satisfying if slightly predictable ending.

The Bad
The first 20 minutes almost lost me, get past that and you will love the film.

I've not seen a Nicolas Cage film in a long time, and without really reading too much about this film before I watched, I expected this to be a terrible low budget film, but it pleasantly surprised me and it made me laugh, (The wall scene had me cracking up), but most importantly it entertained me for most of the 1h 40m run time.

I score The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent a solid 8.5/10. 

Really, really good!

In cinemas NOW!
And you can also pre-order the home entertainment release at https://amzn.to/3NsJW6l