Published on April 24th, 2022 | by Kim Kurtenbach0
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)
Nic Cage is back! (Not that he went anywhere) And this time he’s got Pedro the Mandalorian by his side.
If you’re a fan of the Nic Cage movie rollercoaster, then you are already aware that he seems to take his parts like a handful of random pills. Some are fun, some are disappointing, and some are just bad decisions. His choice of projects range from desperate to head-scratching to blockbuster and genius and the Tomatometer scores range from 0% (yes, zero) to 97%, which reflect the sickening lows and dizzying highs of his catalogue. As a passenger on said ride, we fans are always anxious about the next new dose of Nic Cage. So, first things first: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022) is a banger. It’s fun, light, and winks at you a lot without becoming annoying about it.
Nic Cage plays Nic Cage, a slight variation of his real-life persona where he is a giant star who is finding it more difficult than it should be to land big rolls. The movie pulls us into a meta world where Cage plays (a version of) Cage who then consults with an imaginary, younger version of himself on his next project choice. When that opportunity slips by, he decides to take the advice of his agent (played by Neil Patrick Harris) to make an appearance at the birthday party of a super-fan for $1 million dollars. Upon arriving at a mansion in Spain, Cage is informed by the CIA that his host is the head of a drug cartel responsible for kidnapping the daughter of an important politician.
From there the story becomes fairly paint-by-numbers in terms of plot, but it’s of little consequence: the bromance between Cage and Pascal is charming and funny. Pascal, known by many for his Game of Thrones (2011) appearance, Narcos (2015) and, most recently, Disney’s super-hit The Mandalorian (2019), is exactly the kind of currently popular actor who can hold screen time with the likes of Cage and keep up with the wild silliness. Where Cage is cynically cool, Pascal is adorable. Where Cage basks in the (slightly mocking) intensity of his craft, Pascal is curious and awestruck.
Cage and Javi (Pascal) bond over their shared obsession with movies and what we get is a Nicolas Cage movie that gets meta – not Adaptaion. (2002) meta – but a fun movie within a movie that is an absurd suggestion of what his real life has been like. In 2019, I went on a Nic Cage filmography bender to the point I felt like a junkie, reading articles that his private life had been as crazy as some of his big screen characters (you can read that article here: (http://www.thefeedbacksociety.com/movies/addicted-to-nicolas-cage/) With that in mind, the new movie is full of easter eggs from his career as one of the fun parody aspects of Massive Talent. It not-so-dismissively proposes that it’s high time for Cage to be re-instated to the forefront of Hollywood again, his purgatory in mediocrity served, but while it’s suggesting all that, Pascal sneaks in for the real win. Handsome as always, Pascal just charms us with a care-free display of his cute, sweet side. Sure, we know he’s menacing when he says, “I can bring you in warm, or I can bring you in cold.’ but there’s a really playful, goofball side to him that is usually just present in very relaxed interviews.
It doesn’t appear Pascal had to act to put in much effort acting like he’s a Nic Cage fan. In fact, other than the fact that he’s actually in the movie, I suspect Pascal sees Cage the same way most of us do: Cage is biblical. The result on screen, and this is true right down the line of supporting actors, looks like everyone came excited to work with the legend.
At a run time of just slightly longer than a John Hughes movie (take your pick), the silly execution of the premise can be forgiven in return for run time. It’s jokes and action and one-liners, the central of which is the Cage motto, “I’m back! Not that I went anywhere.” As a vehicle to announce his big return to Hollywood, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is not likely going to be looked back upon as that pivotal moment. That would take a fat role in a Tarantino movie, or (ugh) a Marvel comic appearance of significant value. But we already acknowledge Cage every few years as still being a powerhouse with movies like Pig (2021) or Mandy (2018). It sometimes doesn’t feel like enough credit is given to the man, but it is what it is.
Nic Cage may not have gone anywhere over the last ten or fifteen years, but he really is back with The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.