Review: Nicolas Cage Comedy THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT Excels As An Appreciation Of One Of Hollywood’s True Mavericks

4 out of 5 stars

You might like him, loathe him, love him or be totally nonplussed by Nicolas Cage – but you can’t deny that he’s an actor who likes to put himself out there by selecting off-beat projects. From cult actor and Oscar winner to action hero and DVD/VOD superstar, Cage has pretty much run the gamut of every role imaginable. Now he’s really taking things to the next level in The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent. 

Directed by Tom Gormican, the meta comedy-thriller sees Cage playing ‘Nick Cage’, a fictionalised version of himself. Strapped for cash, the actor accepts a million dollars to attend the birthday party of Javi (Pedro Pascal), a Cage fanatic who just so happens wanted by the CIA. Tapped to go undercover, Cage must grapple with his fading career and the new found danger in which he finds himself. 

The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent had the potential to be an enjoyable enough one-note comedy, but it manages to be much, much more than that. As always, Cage is fully committed to his performance and he has a great time playing an OTT version of himself. Not only does Cage play ‘Nick’, but he also plays ‘Nicky’, a younger and angrier version of Cage (courtesy of CGI) who is more focused on his career as a serious actor. The actor really appears to be enjoying himself as he references past performances and takes subtle potshots at the business side of Hollywood. In lesser hands this could have been a disaster but with Cage it’s one of the best roles he’s ever played. 

Co-star Pedro Pascal also seems to be having a good time, relishing the absurdity of his character and sharing great onscreen chemistry with Cage. Pascal plays Javi with wide-eyed innocence and you can fully understand why Cage is conflicted on his mission to turn him into the CIA. You could watch a whole series of movies with this duo as they go from one adventure to another. 

Neil Patrick Harris, Tiffany Haddish, Sharon Horgan and Lily Sheen add solid support and they all match the heightened nature of The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent’s comedic tone. Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten’s screenplay features sparking dialogue and some very intriguing scenes which manages to give the characters plenty of engaging interplay. At times the comedy is laugh-out-loud funny and there are many nods to Cage’s iconic films for fans to enjoy. 

Gorman’s film isn’t flawless. The last act feels a little rushed and the fate of a pair of characters is left muddled and confused in an attempt to keep things moving along. It also would have been nice if there was one great action set-piece to tie things-up for the finale. These flaws aren’t terminal, but they would have helped make The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent even better. 

A refreshing an entertaining comedy, The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent works as a film on its own merits but it also excels at being an appreciation of one of Hollywood’s true acting mavericks.