Movie Review: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)

TL;DR – Nicholas Cage is suffering from a lack of exposure. Struggling to land his next big movie role, he agrees to be a celebrity guest for a billionaire to get an easy pay check. In the process, he gets roped into helping the CIA. With no CIA training whatsoever, he relies on his acting skills to go undercover.

Review (warning: spoilers)

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent suffers from the unbearable weight of expectation.

The trailer presents an interesting premise where actor Nicholas Cage plays himself struggling to land roles for major films. Deciding to retire, he agrees to one final pay check for $1 million to attend, as the guest of honour, a birthday party for a billionaire, Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal). It then takes a funny turn when Javi is suspected of arms dealing and kidnapping a politician’s daughter. And Cage is hired by the CIA to dig deeper into Javi’s affairs and try to locate the kidnapped girl.

Unfortunately, the trailer reveals too much, and all the funniest moments are shown without leaving much left over for the actual film. Knowing Nicholas Cage’s acting career will benefit the viewer as some of the comic moments revolve around previous movies he has starred in.

The fictional depiction of his personal life is one of dysfunction as his relationship with his ex-wife Olivia (Sharon Horgan) and daughter Addy (Lily Sheen) always takes a backseat to his self-absorbed and narcissistic need to secure his next major movie role. It is only through Cage’s acting chops that allows him to pull off this depiction with enough emotional angst to get you to care rather than a standard trope of family neglect.

His interactions with movie buff Javi, who is also a die-hard Nicholas Cage fan, are amusing but you’ll want to turn off your brain at how silly it all gets.

The introduction of the CIA who have been monitoring Javi and trying to locate the kidnapped politician’s daughter is there to propel a plot forward that is really just about Cage going through a mid-life crisis and being steered to persevere through his interactions with Javi. Without the kidnapping plot, we would be watching a movie about two guys discuss existentialism and not much else.

The movie even acknowledges this self-deprecating need to have a hook and progress plot during a dialogue exchange between Javi and Cage. Javi has created a screenplay for a film, and it is Cage who suggests throwing in an action thriller component by introducing a kidnapping that really has no place in Javi’s screenplay.

The cleverness is in a movie about an actor becoming friends and working with a suspected criminal to make a movie about the very events we see on screen.

Nicholas Cage fans will likely be in rapture. For the rest of us, you can watch the trailer and that’ll be enough.

6.5 out of 10

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