The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)

*. A laboured title but a clever enough idea. Not an original idea — the movie star who gets stuck in a situation where he has to “be” one of his most famous characters in order to survive — but clever enough to make something out of. And by this point in his career Nicolas Cage is perfect for the part, as his roles have pretty much become him playing Nicolas Cage now. So it’s all self-referential and meta and hip. Good for some laughs anyway.
*. Unfortunately, it never graduates from a concept to a real script. Cage plays “Nick” Cage, an actor whose personal and professional life are both on the skids. What’s next up is being a celebrity birthday-party guest at some rich guy’s private Majorcan estate. Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal), however, may be a crime lord as well as someone with an obsessive man-crush on his favourite movie star. So Cage is soon working with a CIA agent (Tiffany Haddish) to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a politician from the estate/compound, all while trying to stay in character with Javi.

*. It’s a movie that’s mostly played in a minor key but never takes off or really engages. It’s easy to smile along with — and the best part, with Cage and Pascal tripping on LSD while driving has become a joyful meme — but there are no belly laughs. It’s filled with references to Cage’s oeuvre that I mostly pulled a blank on, either because I hadn’t seen them or (more often) because I’d forgotten them completely. A nice pastiche of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was originally worked into the third act but was cut. It’s worth checking out as one of the extras included with the DVD, but I can see why it was left out as it’s too jarring a gear shift from the rest of the action.
*. To be honest, I’m not sure who this movie was for aside from die-hard Cage fans, which is a limited niche. And even for them I don’t think it has a lot to offer. I’d rather watch him going over the top in Mandy or Color Out of Space. Pascal is a rising star with a friendly face, and Cage does his usual Cage thing, but at the end of the day it can’t hold a candle to Three Amigos in the comedy department (only the most obvious reference point) and the action is just a yawn.

10 thoughts on “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)

  1. Alex Good Post author

    The ten seconds that launched ten thousand memes. You don’t have to bother with the rest of the film.

    Turned into the street art of the ol’ information superhighway:

  2. Fraggle

    I liked this movie, granted it was silly (there’s a lot of that about) but loved the Cage/Pascal combo, got a soft spot for both of those.

  3. Bruce @ walkingoffthechessboard

    It sounded to me when I first learned it was being made this movie had a solid premise. However, the execution was so uninspired. It was almost like the film makers expected the very idea of the movie to actually carry the film. This was a wasted opportunity to me.


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