FAN EFFECT REVIEW: “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is a hilarious grown-up comedy with an emphasis on grown-up
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SALT LAKE CITY — Would you see a film about a movie star playing a version of himself? Lionsgate and Nicolas Cage are betting you are! “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” hits theaters this weekend as a wonderfully weird, insightfully intelligent, and absolutely hilarious grown-up action-comedy.
Nicolas Cage has earned awards as a talented actor in Hollywood; from his well-earned Academy Award for Best Actor in “Leaving Las Vegas” (1995) to his iconic pipes featured as one of the many Spider-Men in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2018). Amid the accolades, he also has the reputation of being a bit of a wildcard, taking on unusual roles and building a cult following even amid subpar direct-to-video films.
Now the unusual role he gets to take on is a fictionalized version of himself in a one-of-a-kind meta-adventure.
In the film, acclaimed but struggling actor Nick Cage (Nicolas Cage) is dealing with a dwindling career, divorce, and a stack of crushingly high debt. While on the path to creative fulfillment, he begrudgingly accepts an invitation to attend the birthday party of a billionaire superfan, Javi Gutierrez ( the Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal). While Cage wants to wallow in self-pity, reminiscing about his glorious movie star past (not that he went anywhere), Javi’s exuberance and love of film win Cage over.
Alas, not everything is as it seems! Soon Nick is pulled into a plot worthy of one of his many … many … many … films. He is recruited by a CIA operative (Tiffany Haddish) and into a peril-filled, drug whipped, violence-tinged, overly dramatic world of crime, kidnap, and political upheaval.
Can Cage tap into the heroes of his characters’ past? Can he save the day, his career, his ex-wife, and his daughter? You’ll have to see the film to find out!
The praise and pitfalls
As a film with such a unique premise, “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” risks falling from a “massive” hit to an “unbearable” flop territory. But, it is stacking up some major praise. It’s splashy, it’s loud, it’s over-the-top aware of itself and its star and in the best way possible. Filled with references to past films, conversations with his younger self, and allusions to the real-life woes of Cage, the film will be a hit with his meme-loving fans.
Storywise, it blossoms from the drama of an out of luck actor to the stereotypical buddy-adventure comedy with the required car chases, standoffs, drug trips, and all the twist-and-turns needed by the genre.
Cage and Pascal are equally and hilariously paired in this film. Instead of the ‘opposites attract’ friendship, they hilariously play on the edge of ‘too much of a good thing.’ Both are fun to watch and fun to root for. The film also follows the tropes of Hollywood production, with exotic settings, elaborate sets, and a fantastic score.
“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” also took some massive risks when it came to the “meta” elements of the film. As Cage analyzes his career and consciously plays with his past, there are poignant moments of realization with cringeworthy, and relatable, moments of awkwardness. It’s crazy to think of all the layers of “self” that had to be explored in the production of the movie. But absurdly, it works!
But is it for everyone?
While fans of film and fans of Cage are going to love this film, it isn’t for everybody.
The Motion Picture Association of America gave it an R rating for “language throughout, some sexual references, drug use, and violence.” The most prominent warning here would be the “language throughout,” as there is a plethora of F-bombs and colorful language. Also prominent is a long and comedic drug trip. But the sexual reference and violence are not gratuitous or gory.
So, to make it clear; this is a film for grown-ups with a grown-up sense of humor. No matter how much you want to see it, don’t take the kiddos.
But having said that, I also want to make clear that the message at the heart of this film is, surprisingly, about family! So while you might not bring the little ones, it might hit you in a way that helps you appreciate them more.
Beyond Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Gaming and Tech, the brains behind Fan Effect are connoisseurs of categories surpassing the nerdy. Listen regularly on your favorite platform, at kslnewsradio.com, or on the KSL App. Join the conversation on Facebook @FanEffectShow, Instagram @FanEffectShow, and Twitter @FanEffectShow. Fan Effect is sponsored by Megaplex Theatres, Utah’s premiere movie entertainment company.
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