Arts & Entertainment

Self deprecation in “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent”

Nick Cage stars as Nick Cage and Nick Cage in a film about Nick Cage writing a movie that will star Nick Cage.

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” follows a Nicolas Cage who has hit rock bottom after divorce, debt, and the loss of a coveted role in an upcoming blockbuster. Feeling lost, he decides to give up acting but to settle his debt, he agrees to attend the birthday party of a rich superfan, played by Pedro Pascal.

The best thing about “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is that it is inoffensive. Too often, comedy movies rely on slapstick or tongue-in-cheek sexism for their laughs. “Massive Talent” is a situational comedy that elicits laughs without them feeling cheap or unearned. 

The film makes no secret about its goal of making fun of the movie star stereotype and Nick Cage buys in completely. There is an imaginary young Nick Cage that appears throughout the film to represent his own ego and give little winks and nudges to the meme culture around Cage’s career. These moments are a little strange and sometimes uncomfortable, but they are also among the funnier scenes on offer. 

“Massive Talent” at times is creatively uncreative. The two main characters are writing the movie that we are watching, sort of, but while this is an alternative way to break the fourth wall, it isn’t anything new or groundbreaking. The movie is making fun of itself constantly but well before the credits roll, the jokes feel stale already. 

There are definitely some fun moments in “Massive Talent” and most of them center around the chemistry between Pedro Pascal and Nick Cage. Pedro Pascal is tasked with playing a character whose tone and mood are shifting along with the meandering plot that the characters are coming up with. It’s a role that plays like a compilation of best hits: timid and meek, giddy fanboy, charismatic business owner, high on acid, and menacing villain.

The one area that “Massive Talent” massively fails is with its supporting characters. Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz are in this movie only physically. They are largely there to remind us of past Nick Cage movies and be serious, yet incompetent, CIA agents. For a comedy movie, wasting these two talents feels like a serious misstep.

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is exactly what it looks like. It has moments that will make you chuckle but nothing that really wows. Nick Cage and Pedro Pascal put in solid and unique performances but the movie is too meta for its own good. It is a prime example of how leaving them wanting more is not always the right strategy.

Star Rating: 3\5

[“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is available only in theaters.]