The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022): 4 out of 10: Facing a career slump and troubled personal relationships, Hollywood actor Nicolas “Nick” Cage is at a crossroads. Haunted by “Nicky”, an apparition of his younger, more successful self, and faced with the emotional fallout with his ex-wife Olivia (Sharon Horgan) and daughter Addy (Lily Mo Sheen) due to years of neglect, Nick contemplates retirement from acting. His resolve strengthens following a humiliating incident at Addy’s birthday party and losing a crucial film role. However, when an intriguing offer of $1 million from his agent Richard Fink (Neil Patrick Harris) arrives, proposing a trip to Majorca to meet billionaire playboy Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal), Nick gives it a shot.
Arriving in Majorca, Nick soon finds himself entangled in Javi’s eccentric plan to create an improvised film based on a script he crafted. Despite the initial annoyance, Nick grows fond of Javi, bonding over shared cinematic interests. The unfolding camaraderie is disrupted as CIA agents Vivian (Tiffany Haddish) and Martin (Ike Barinholtz) approach Nick, implicating Javi in a kidnapping scheme aimed to manipulate a political election. Although hesitant, Nick agrees to assist the CIA in rescuing the kidnapped Maria from Javi’s compound.
As Nick and Javi dive deeper into their improvised film project, bizarre happenings, including an LSD misadventure, blur the line between reality and fiction. Nick stumbles upon a surreal shrine Javi has made for Nick’s cinematic achievements, revealing Javi’s fanatical admiration. On CIA agent Vivian’s suggestion, Nick introduces a kidnapping plot to their script, gauging Javi’s reactions. However, the situation spirals as Javi learns of Nick’s underlying motive, revealing he’s brought Nick’s family to his villa as a power play.
The plot thickens when it’s unveiled that Javi’s cousin Lucas (Paco León) is the real criminal mastermind, pressuring Javi to eliminate Nick to secure his silence. Nick and Javi find themselves unwilling to turn on each other, a loyalty that’s put to the test when Lucas’s men abduct Addy. In a desperate race against time, they navigate a storm of danger to rescue their loved ones, culminating in a dangerous face-off with Lucas.
The Good: If you were not already a fan of Pedro Pascal, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent might seal the deal. Pedro is pitch perfect in his role as a man-child fan of Nicolas Cage. In a role that easily could have swerved into pathos or Kathy Bates Misery territory, Pedro finds that perfect middle.
In a strange way, he is almost the gentler cousin of Benicio Del Toro’s character in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Pedro has a couple of different emotions running under the surface in Unbearable Weight, making him a surprisingly lovable character.
The Bad: Well, first, we have seen this exact same thing before. The crime lord, being a big fan of an artist, was much better realised in Romancing the Stone. The crime lord thinking the artist was the actual person they portrayed was done much better in the soft reboot of Romancing the Stone called The Lost City (2022 film).
And to make matters even worse, the hook that Nicolas Cage has a twin/ ghost from the past telling his present self what to do was done much better in 2002’s Adaptation with Nicolas Cage himself.
Oh, and the movie chickens out with the Paco León crime boss reveal in a scene so lame and a plot twist so unnecessary and confusing, I found myself booing the screen.
The Ugly: Besides a lot of deja vu, the other fundamental problem with The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is really nothing happens in the movie. The movie has a lot of talking. Mostly Mr. Cage talking to his younger self about how his life decisions up till now have not been the best and others talking about how great Nicolas Cage movies are. I am a big Nicolas Cage fan and I found the dialog self serving and tiresome… bordering on some sort of weird narcissism. It would be as if Chuck Norris made a movie where all the other characters told Chuck Norris jokes, except they were serious. It comes across as the kind of movie I could see Steven Seagal making about himself.
In Conclusion: Nicolas Cage has said he was hesitant to do this film (He originally only agreed to it if he could play Pedro Pascal’s crime boss role.) Unlike buying the 70-million-year-old dinosaur skull, he had to return to Mongolia or his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley he should have followed his instincts on this one. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a dull movie that constantly reminds you that you could be watching a much better Nicolas Cage film instead.