The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022). Film review of the comedy starring Nicolas Cage

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Comedy

image four star rating very good lots to enjoy

Film review by Jason Day of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, the comedy starring Hollywood star Nicolas Cage as himself embroiled in a mission to rescue a politician’s daughter. Co-starring Pedro Pascal and directed by Tom Gormican.

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Synopsis

Hollywood star Nicolas Cage is feted all over the world as one of the best movie actors, but his heyday appears to be behind him. He has just gone through a divorce, his daughter thinks he is self-absorbed and emotionally fake and he fails to secure a new, plumb role when he mistakenly gives an impromptu ‘reading’.

Superfan Javi (Pedro Pascal) requests an audience with him at his palatial palazzo and Nick agrees to visit and chill out. But Pascal is being monitored by the CIA (Tiffany Haddish) for the kidnapping of a politician’s daughter, who might be in Javi’s villa. They ask Nick to go undercover and befriend Javi. The consummate professional, Nick channels his movie alter egos to help find the girl and save the day.

Review, by @Reelreviewer

Is that supposed to be me? It’s… grotesque…I’ll give you $20,000 for it.

Nick Cage (Nicolas Cage) makes an offer his wax figure dummy can’t refuse.

Nic Cage has got balls of steel.

After all, it takes something(s) for a major Hollywood star to take the piss out of their stardom and personality…and permit filmmakers to produce a satirical movie about it.

Admittedly this movie is a silly piece…but we all need a bit of silliness, don’t we? I know I do and was instantly hooked by distributor Lionsgate’s marketing whereby you received a ‘personalised’ tweet when you retweeted their teaser posts. The response included the trailer and, daft as the film seemed, it tickled me and I wanted to see it.

What is the main message that writer/director Tom Gormican wants to get across? That he admires/loves the actor Nicolas Cage and wants to go out of his way to express that? What is that – egregious sycophancy in extremis?!

Is it worth the effort, given Cage’s uneven track record? He is a performer whose acting career has tightrope-walked between massive blockbuster success (The Rock, Con Air, Face Off), acclaimed indie fare (Wild at Heart, Leaving Las Vegas) and critical turkeys (Guarding Tess, Ghost Rider).

Is ‘fanboy Tom’ the character of Javi, who blindly worships this ‘cinematic god’ and has a hidden worship room with his own Cage mannequin?

Gormican plays a good hand of comic twists with his gloriously nutty piece but overreaches himself. Taste is a very personal thing and I’d like to say I can sit and watch most scenes a movie can throw at me, but even I baulked at Cage’s younger self (from Wild at Heart) French-kissing the modern day Nic. An uncomfortable, unnecessary and unwelcome step too far.

Gormican takes several side-swipes at how the Hollywood elite are self-centred and narcissistic without stooping to this.

Well done to Pascal for keeping apace with the leading man; his gleaming, perpetually happy, big brown eyes help you identify with how he/Gormican (others in the audience? Me?!) can so admire the brightest lights in La La Land.

Best scene? Has to be the LSD-fuelled road trip they take.

Excellent stuff in a movie with some good laughs and three astute, spiky additions in Haddish’s too- competent CIA agent, Sharon Horgan as Cage’s smart ex and Lily Mo Sheen as his exasperated daughter (in real-life, the daughter of actors Kate Beckinsale and Michael Sheen).

For more, see the Lionsgate trailer.

Cast & credits

Director: Tom Gormican. 1hr 47mins/107mins. Embassy Films/Lionsgate/Saturn Films. (15).

Producers: Kristin Burr, Nicolas Cage, Erika Milutin, Michael Nilon, Kevin Turen.
Writers: Tom Gormican, Kevin Etten.
Camera: Nigel Bluck.
Music: Mark Isham.
Sets: Kevin Kavanaugh.

Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, Tiffany Haddish, Sharon Horgan, Paco León, Neil Patrick Harris, Lily Mo Sheen, Alessandra Mastronardi, Jacob Scippio, Katrin Vancova, Demi Moore, Anna MacDonald.

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