Review: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent


I feel like I say this every time a new Nic Cage movie comes out, but we here at Flixist love us some Nic Cage. We all love him for a variety of reasons, and loving him has basically become a punchline at this point. There’s one thing that unifies our love of him: his movies are great. There are so many great Nic Cage movies that it’s hard to narrow it down to ten if we were to do a Top 10 list. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent shares that exact same love for Nic Cage and wants the world to know it.

Now, is this movie a self-reverential feat of narcissism on the part of Cage, who produced the film? Indisputably so. Does that detract from enjoying the film? Not really. What does dampen the film’s entertainment value is how it tries to be clever with its meta-commentary, but doesn’t quite stick the landing.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022 Movie) Official Trailer – Nicolas Cage

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Director: Tom Gormican
Release Date: April 22, 2022
Rating: R

Nic Cage, here playing himself, has had a bad couple of years. He’s not getting the roles he’d like, he’s up to his neck in debt, his daughter, Addy (Lily Sheen), hates him, and his wife, Olivia (Sharon Horgan), is divorcing him. He has a passion to create art, but no one seems to understand his vision, so he tries to retire. Before that, he accepts one final job. He travels to Spain to appear at the birthday party of a billionaire Nic Cage superfan named Javi (Pedro Pascal). Upon arriving, the CIA get in touch with him and ask him to go undercover and investigate Javi, as they suspect him of running a drug cartel and want Cage to bring him to justice, despite Cage developing a friendship with him.

As far as comedies go, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent hits more than it misses. You would think that a lot of the humor is reliant on being familiar with Cage’s filmography, but that isn’t entirely the case. There are definitely some jokes about his movies, like one character being extremely moved by Guarding Tess of all movies, but most of the jokes come from solid writing and great performances.

Nic Cage is great here, especially when he’s playing a younger and insane version of him that embodies all of your over-the-top Nic Cage fantasies, but he’s surprisingly not the highlight of the movie. Pedro Pascal absolutely upstages Nic Cage at every turn, portraying a man who absolutely loves Nic Cage but is so stupid it’s almost pure. Pascal goes all-in at every opportunity, whether it be doing LSD, somberly showing off his shrine of Nic Cage memorabilia, or professing his love of Paddington 2. Pedro Pascal is literally the most energizing and exciting thing about the movie.

Review: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Copyright: Lionsgate Films

When The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent isn’t focused on its two lead actors bouncing off each other, the plot is being propelled forward by them creating a script to show off Cage’s true potential while Cage investigates Javi. This is where the film starts to stumble as it gets a bit caught up in its own metacommentary. At first, it’s funny how the film is trying to use this scriptwriting process as a narrative device to push the CIA plot forward, but then it forgets that the ideas that it brought up were not very good ones and you realize the script is a metaphor for the movie itself.

Case in point, Cage attempts to introduce a plot thread about a kidnapped girl to try and probe Javi for intel about a girl the CIA believes he kidnapped. Javi thinks this plot thread is stupid and blatantly says that it sounds like a forced story thread to appeal to mainstream audiences. It’s funny at first until the film has that exact same plot thread in its climax. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent tries to have its cake and eat it too. You can’t call out a lazy writing trope and then deliver that exact same trope and expect audiences not to criticize it. It’s disappointing because the ending of the film is when it’s at its weakest entirely because it falls into standard climax fare instead of the “character-focused drama” Cage and Javi want to deliver.

Even with those faults, there’s just something infectious about the way that Cage and Pascal interact with each other. There’s also a nice little subversion towards the halfway point of the movie that presented plenty of great comedic moments. This is a film where I’m certain even with repeat viewings I’ll still find many of its jokes funny. Judging a comedy based on one viewing is tough, but if you just want to watch a movie and have a good time, then The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent does its job.

Review: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Copyright: Lionsgate Films

I’m almost glad that the film isn’t entirely reliant on Nic Cage references. Referential humor doesn’t hold up well over time and even humor targetted at a specific niche can age poorly. But don’t worry, if you want your Nic Cage freakouts, you’ll get them here with his digitally de-aged self. In fact, you’ll get a little bit of everything from him here. You’ll get action beats, dramatic moments, and witty one-liners. This movie is, fittingly, a microcosm of why Nic Cage is such a singular force.

You shouldn’t put any thought into The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent though. The second you start trying to examine its meta-commentary about Hollywood cinema and the scriptwriting process, that’ll take you out of the experience. If you’re a fan of Nic Cage, you already bought a ticket to see this movie. If you’re indifferent towards him, then you’ll have a pretty decent comedy with an amazing performance by Pedro Pascal, but you’ll also have a movie that slowly deflates the longer it goes on until it becomes a generic action movie.




The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent thinks its smarter than it actually is and stumbles trying to show it off, but succeeds at being just a dumb and stupid love letter to Nic Cage.

Jesse Lab
The strange one. The one born and raised in New Jersey. The one who raves about anime. The one who will go to bat for DC Comics, animation, and every kind of dog. The one who is more than a tad bit odd. The Features Editor.