There’s a phenomenon going on. You can’t really feel it, but you can see it. It’s been going on for quite a while now, under the surface, in the background. It’s called the Cage-Aissance (short for Nicolas Cage Renaissance). Through films like Mandy, Willy’s Wonderland, Pig, and Prisoners of the Ghostland, Nicolas Cage has taken a new step in his career. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is the crescendo of this run that Nicolas Cage has been on in his career. It’s a celebration, a highlight, and just a hell of a movie.
For such an outlandish premise, there’s only really one man who could do this role. The thread of growing older, becoming less relevant, and how careers affect families permeate throughout this action-comedy romp. Nicolas Cage stars as himself and Nick Cage. The film makes a big distinction that the Nicolas Cage in the film is not the one we see in real life.
They went to extreme measures to make sure that is the case. This is still a fictionalized and alternate version of Cage. His tattoos are covered up, his name has a “k” at the end of it, and he’s got different family members. Pedro Pascal also stars as Javi Gutierrez, Nick Cage’s biggest fan in the entire world. He also is in the family business of weapons dealing and other unsavory operations. Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz play Vivian and Martin, two CIA agents that run into Cage while he’s traveling to Javi’s island compound. Finally, Sharon Horgan and Lily Sheen play Olivia and Addy Cage, Cage’s family that gets entangled in his career dealings and more.
A Hilarious Script Provides Everything Needed To Succeed With Audiences
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is carried by Nic Cage and Pedro Pascal though. The lifeblood of the film runs through them and how their relationship develops over the course of the film. It’s your standard buddy comedy, but it also throws a gargantuan amount of heart into the proceedings.
There’s a reason this script was on the Blacklist for best-unproduced screenplays until Lionsgate came along. The movie is utterly hilarious. It’s not just in the cheap jokes that some comedies go through to get an audience laughing, it’s with the performances. Pascal and Cage have a comedic timing that is rare. It seems like they’re completely in tune with one another as performers and it shows on screen. There’s a drug trip scene in the film, and it makes you think they’re going to go for the standard trippy sequence that’s fairly common in comedy movies these days. Instead, they go for a more subdued scene. It relies on the facial expressions, tones, and delivery of lines from Pascal and Cage to get across what they’re feeling. The movie is all the better for it.
Anytime you think they’re going to verge too far into an over-the-top territory, they bring it back. They tease huge action set pieces, but they’re more subdued. It’s not in a way that teases the audience and doesn’t give them the closure and resolution to the scenes, they just take a different approach that ends up working even better.
Director/Writer Tom Gormican and his co-writer Kevin Etten craft a tight script and it gives almost everyone enough time to shine. The twist and turns of the film add to the narrative and make the ending that much sweeter. It’s really a joyous experience that doesn’t feel at all like it’s 1-hour and 45-minute runtime.
The Only Cons I Can Think Of
Without fully nitpicking The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent; the movie’s pacing is a bit off towards the ending of the film. It reaches a point where you think it could end, and then it starts the third act. This bit of timing does throw off the film some, but it really breezes by in a way that most movies these days don’t. Other than that, Ike Barinholtz and Tiffany Haddish’s characters don’t get much screen time outside of when they’re interacting with Cage as part of their mission. It seems like they had more material filmed with them, but it just couldn’t fit. It’s a shame because they’re absolutely hilarious in the scenes they’re involved with. Barinholtz is a master of timing and tone with his lines, with a highlight being the “why the F*CK would I watch Croods 2?” line that’s all over trailers.
Outside of those qualms, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a truly warm and joyous experience at the theater. Nicolas Cage has come full circle with his career. This film provides his return to studio filmmaking while also giving massive props to his career and impact as an actor. He’s beloved by many and this tribute isn’t just simply a cheap celebration of his career. It gives audiences something to root for on-screen and in real life. The meta aspects of the film that go into filmmaking show that even if you’re down, you’re not out.
You can’t do much better than this in regards to joy and comedy, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is already one of the best films of 2022.
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