Performance Art: Our Review of ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - April 21, 2022
Performance Art: Our Review of ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’

The curse of the gifted will never die…

While it provides for a hell of a lot of fun, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent doesn’t quite lean into the realm of self-deprecation that this critic had hoped for, it’s nice to see a guy like Nicolas Cage poke a little fun at himself as we dive into the myth of the man we can only refer to as…

“NIC FUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKKKIIIIING CAGE”

Creatively unfulfilled and facing financial ruin, the fictionalized version of Nicolas Cage must accept a $1 million offer to attend the birthday of a dangerous super fan (Pedro Pascal). Things take a wildly unexpected turn when Cage is recruited by a CIA operative (Tiffany Haddish) and forced to live up to his own legend, channeling his most iconic and beloved on-screen characters in order to save himself and his loved ones. With a career built for this very moment, the seminal award-winning actor must take on the role of a lifetime: Nick Cage.

For anyone looking for Cage to offer up any genuine personal reflection on this one…I’ll have to say that you are going to be left wanting, but The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent does offer up some genuine hilarity as the man, the myth and the legend that is Cage is certainly in on the joke and up for the entire ride.

You may only know co-writer and director Tom Gormicon from 2014’s mediocre rom-com That Awkward Moment but we can say without a shadow of a doubt that he’s made a clear step up in this his sophomore feature.

Dripping with Hollywood references, pop culture nuggets and jokes galore, this is an immaculately crafted tale of two stories.  At first it’s a gonzo tale of Hollywood excess and ego that slides into an awkwardly charming action/buddy comedy.

Gormicon keeps it all moving at a healthy pace that just glues a smile on your face that will run from ear to ear.  While it plays the comedy for everyone to enjoy filled with Easter eggs for the fans to eat up, you can’t help but feel that it missed some opportunities to get a little more self-deprecating and dark.  Instead of hard edges its nice rounded corners, that’s not a bad thing but it is a missed opportunity to even lean harder into the self-referential nature of the comedy that is being explored here, but ultimately playing it light for laughs works, but it could have been a lot more.

That being said Nicolas Cage in the lead as our hero Nick Cage is actually pretty fun here as he gives us a glimpse into the self-doubt that must plague more than its fair share of people in Hollywood all while embracing his legacy of coming off like somewhat of an enigmatic weirdo.  The really endearing thing here is that is really feels like he’s having fun with it all and subverting what our expectations are supposed to be for his very own existence.

Pedro Pascal is fantastic opposite him as his uber-rich super fan with a dangerous secret while the likes of Tiffany Haddish, Ike Barinholtz & the one only Neil Patrick Harris as his long suffering agent do great work while Cage gets to be Cage.

In many ways The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a form of self-love.  By way of his director and screenwriters he gets to sit in awe of his very own legacy that many casual viewers thought had passed him by, even though….he never went anywhere in the first place.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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