Review: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Nick Cage's latest film sees him take on a brand new role... himself. Did his performance do him justice?

Jessica Mckeown
9th May 2022
Who better to play a fictionalised Nick Cage than Nick Cage himself?

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent was just released, and it's a breath of fresh air at a time when the market is oversaturated with sequels, remakes and superheroes. A self-aware buddy comedy film, it stars Nicholas Cage (The Rock) as himself, and Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) as rich Cage super-fan, Javi. Movie Cage attends Javi’s birthday party for a grand sum of one million dollars and finds himself being recruited by CIA agents, played by Tiffany Haddish (Girl’s Trip) and Ike Barinholtz (Blockers), to engage in a little spycraft on his new friend who they believe made his fortune in arms dealing.

The chemistry between Pedro Pascal (left) and Nicholas Cage (right) is a highlight of the film. Image credit: IMDB

The highlight of the film is easily the chemistry between Cage and Pascal. Chemistry between the leads in buddy films is essential, as without it the comedy would fall flat. Much of the humour in the film centres around their bromance and the things they get up to including a very humorous scene involving LSD. Another hilarious element of this film is seeing Nick Cage attempt to and somewhat fail to be a good action hero despite the many macho action roles that he’s known for. A plot line in the film is the duo writing a movie based on their friendship, creating an element of self-awareness. This self-awareness adds to the viewing experience and works well to dissect the genre, unlike the somewhat pretentious self-awareness in the latter end of the Scream franchise.

Much of the humour in the film centres around their bromance and the things they get up to including a very humorous scene involving LSD.

Some of the humour of the film did fall a little flat and induced a few cringes, particularly at the start of the film when Cage has hit rock bottom and decides to retire. A let-down is the freakily de-aged Nicky Cage that appears to taunt Cage over how he won’t get back to his glory days. I will always find the de-ageing of actors to be a disconcerting viewing experience, but I can appreciate why they worked it in to show Cage at his peak. Elements of the plot did feel quite predictable, particularly the ending, but then again this is more of an entertaining reflection on Cage’s career than a work of art.

The film pays homage to Cage’s glory days with references aplenty to Con-Air (1997), The Rock (1996) and Face/Off (1997). Even The Croods 2 (2020) gets a mention. Personally, I am not a hardcore fan of Cage, only watching a few of his well-known films over the years. Undoubtedly, there were references that flew over my head. This does not detract from the viewing experience, as the film can be enjoyed by both casual filmgoers and avid Nick Cage fans alike.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is in cinemas now.

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