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The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Written by Omair Alavi

In the 1990s, Nicholas Cage was amongst the most popular actors in the world; from Face/Off to Gone in 60 Seconds, Leaving Las Vegas to Con Air, Moonstruck to The Rock,

In the 1990s, Nicholas Cage was amongst the most popular actors in the world; from Face/Off to Gone in 60 Seconds, Leaving Las Vegas to Con Air, Moonstruck to The Rock, he was here, there, and everywhere. In fact, he continued to deliver hits in the new millennium with The Family Man, National Treasure, and Lord of War. However, in the last decade, he hasn’t done something substantial, causing the 58-year-old to become a ‘legend no one wants to cast’ in Hollywood.

That’s the main plot of this film, where he plays a fictional version of himself, who finally gets ‘an offer he couldn’t refuse.’ The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is a self-deprecating comedy featuring Nicholas Cage as the out of work Nick Cage who isn’t on the best terms with his ex-wife Olivia (Sharon Jorgan), and daughter Addy (Lily Sheen) and only accepts to appear at a birthday party in Spain so that he can pay his bills. And when he thought that he had no friends left in the world, he meets his host Javi Gutierrez (Pedro Pascal), his super-rich, super-fan in Mallorca, Spain.

Being rich and influential makes Javi a potential suspect in the kidnapping of the daughter of an anti-crime politician, and the CIA agents Vivian (Tiffany Haddish) and Martin (Ike Barinholtz) approach Nick Cage for his help since no one would suspect him of spying. While he does a few minor jobs for the agency, Nick Cage also bonds with his host and starts believing in his innocence, until he flies Cage’s family to be with him in Spain, without his or their consent. Is Javi the sweet person he portrays himself to be or is there a villain lurking behind the super-fan, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent will present the answer to you when you go and watch it.

Directed by Tom Gormican, this film is strictly for Nicholas Cage fans who have grown up watching him do everything in films. The pop-culture references, the Nicholas Cage specials, and the laughs are scattered all over the film which makes you want to revisit the actor’s impressive body of work. It isn’t that the film is strictly for those who have seen Nicholas Cage flicks, it’s for those cinemagoers as well who don’t know much about the Academy Award-winning actor because he did a few bad films in a handful of years.

If you loved him in the heist movie Gone in 60 Seconds, or in the classic John Woo thriller Face/Off and the action flick Con-Air, then you will not be disappointed as this film pays tribute to most of his successful flicks. It will keep you entertained from the moment it begins till the end, with Nicholas Cage and Pedro Pascal dominating the proceedings as ‘The Man and his Fan’. Add Neil Patrick Harris to the equation as Nicholas Cage’s manager, and the classic 90s flavor is solidified in these 107 minutes.

From the scene where Nicholas Cage mistakes his host for household help, or where he jumps over a wall, leaving behind his host, the veteran actor is in the mood to impress. The scene where he is doing drugs and playing a spy is hilarious, as is the scene where he decides to use his talent to save a loved one. The good thing is that he seems to forget the recent strings of flops associated with his name and starts afresh just like the guy in Face/Off who starts afresh once he gets a new face.

One must also mention the constantly-blushing Pedro Pascal who plays the role of Javi, Nick Cage’s number one fan to perfection. Whenever he is sharing the screen with Nicholas Cage (which happens most of the time), his character seems to be wondering whether it is a dream or a reality. His performance is at its peak when he is showing Nick Cage his collection of stuff he used in the movies because at that moment, Pedro Pascal is nowhere on the screen and Javi is everywhere, cherishing his best moments.

If you are a true Nicholas Cage fan, you will instantly connect with the moments from his old films including Leaving Las Vegas, Con-Air, The Rock, and Moonstruck which are recreated in such a way that the audience feels connected with the leading man who is playing himself on the screen. How the writer and director put all those Nicholas Cage references in one movie is only what someone who has grown up watching his films could have done and it seems the team behind the script was no different from the audience. They make fun of Hollywood in a way that no one gets offended, while the on-screen chemistry between Pedro Pascal and Nicholas Cage reminds the audience of the buddy-cop films of the 1990s.

The scenes where two Nicholas Cage appear (the younger and the current one) also remind the audience of Adaptation where he played more than one character. The younger one keeps telling the older one that he is not an actor but a movie star, and after watching this film, his many fans would agree. He is one of the few Hollywood actors who excelled in drama, action, thriller, and even romantic comedy and failed because he wanted to explore himself unnecessarily. With this film, he has finally found out that they love him and in order to love them back, he will have to do better films and avoid Ghost Rider stuff that didn’t help his career in any way.

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Omair Alavi

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