REVIEW: ‘Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’ is a Nic Cage triumph

Nicolas Cage is uncaged in this film, since he gets to really be himself. Seriously.

Cage plays a fictionalized version of himself in “Massive Talent.” Like the real version, the Cage in the movie hasn’t starred in a major blockbuster in a few years and it’s been tough on the actor.

He gets an opportunity to make some easy cash thanks to a mega fan named Javi, though, which could help get him on sturdier ground. However, it turns out Javi, who hired Cage to attend his birthday party, is actually a person the CIA has been targeting as an arms dealer. The CIA then asks Cage to provide surveillance on the individual.

This film is an absolute blast to experience. It’s so self aware and meta that you can’t help but go along for the whole ride.

Watching the film develop, where Cage and Javi are bonding over the former’s filmography and their love of cinema is both endearing and hilarious. There’s a lot of humor at play about Hollywood and Cage’s career.

The comedy ranges from sharp takes to over-the-top moments, and so much of it hits the bullseye, resulting in big laughs. There’s an especially memorable moment where the two are on a drug trip and become paranoid about their surroundings where it’s hard to stop laughing.

Having Cage be brought in as an asset to the CIA makes this even more fun. The way this fictional version of Cage convinces himself that he’s up to the task and actually puts his life on the line even without training makes for some great moments.

MassTalentBlog1
Courtesy Lionsgate.

Even the film’s main emotional arc, which features a fairly pedestrian story of Cage trying to connect with his (fictional) daughter, works well enough. The exaggerated nature of the Cage character makes the subplot stand apart from similar stories in other films.

The movie works as well as it does because of its main attraction. I doubt something like this could work with another actor. Sure, Hollywood stars have portrayed themselves to success, with it working in films such as “This is the End.”

But a movie like this needed an actor with a career as diverse as Cage. It also needs an actor who brings so much energy and passion to a role like Cage does.

It’s such a perfect fit for a movie about a Hollywood star, and Cage definitely holds up his end of the bargain. Not only does he give a performance where he captures everything audiences love about him as an actor, he doubles the fun by also playing an even more exaggerated version of himself who appears from time to time.

Deserving just as much credit, though, is Pedro Pascal, who plays Cage’s super fan. Pascal’s Javi is so sincere and earnest, that even though he has a potentially dark background, one can’t help but love him as a character.

Where the film stumbles a bit is in its tonal shifts. The film moves from being a straight-up comedy to an exciting action film. This is perfectly fine, and the film even comments on the genre turn. However, the tone becomes a bit too dark at some points, to where it doesn’t fit with the rest of the movie as well.

All things considered, though, this is a thoroughly enjoyable feature. Cage and Pascal are phenomenal, the comedy is exceptionally funny and there is some fun action mixed in. 4.25 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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