The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)


Nicolas Cage plays himself in this meta action-comedy that finds the actor on the verge of reluctant retirement before a wealthy fan (The Mandalorian‘s Pedro Pascal) summons him to coastal Spain for a birthday party. Once there, the two begin working on a screenplay together and a goofy bromance begins. But when a CIA operative (Tiffany Haddish) tells Cage that Pascal is a kidnapper, Cage is called upon to become the action hero he has played in so many movies.

The meta angle in this movie is really just superficial icing. If you’re a long-time fan of the mercurial Cage, you’ll enjoy the nods to his filmography. Con Air, Wild at Heart, and Guarding Tess get prominent attention, but the list is long (and enjoyable). When you strip away the meta novelty, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is really just another buddy action comedy in the tradition of Lethal Weapon or 48 Hrs. But you know what? It works. Cage and Pascal have terrific chemistry together, the screenplay zips along without ever lagging, and the movie is consistently charming and funny. My favorite sequence is one in which Cage and Pascal drop acid for writing inspiration and end up running in paranoid terror from a couple who aren’t even chasing them.

While the comedy rivals Cage’s best work, the action is a bit anemic in comparison. But you’re not likely to mind. The movie’s heart is in the right place. And perhaps more importantly, it’s a worthy celebration of an actor like no other — the enigma who is both an Oscar winner and an over-actor, a goofball and an action star, a mad man and an artist. Nicolas fucking Cage, ladies and gentlemen.

With Sharon Horgan, Neil Patrick Harris, and Lily Sheen. Directed by Tom Gormican.

Share Button