The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Directed by: Tom Gormican
Distributed by: Lionsgate Films

Written by Alexander Reams

84/100

Nic Cage. To some he is a man who was huge in the 90s but fizzled out, and don’t care about him anymore, to some (this writer included) he is a man who was huge in the 90s, but is turning some of his best work in now. Where you fall on the spectrum is a good indicator of the enjoyment you might find in Tom Gormican’s “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.” For this writer, the plot seemed too good to be true, Nicolas Cage playing a “fictionalized”, and I can’t stress this enough (Lord knows everyone else did in the press tour) “fictionalized” version of the movie star Nic Cage. Add in some of the best meta-commentary and humor that has graced the silver screen in a long time, a fantastic bromance, and some great action sequences, and you have one of the funniest movies of 2022 (so far, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the best comedy of the year). 

Upon first viewing this celebration of one of cinema’s finest actors, I had a hard time believing that Director/Co-Writer Tom Gormican had only directed one film before, and that being “That Awkward Moment” which was released to a muted commercial response and even worse critical response. Gormican is returning to the directing chair after an 8-year absence, and the writing table after only doing a micro TV show between “Awkward Moment and “Unbearable Weight.” The pressure was on for Gormican, who with Co-Writer Kevin Etten, took that pressure and turned it into one of the biggest stress relievers in recent cinema history, by following the recent trend in Cage pictures where directors take a specific aspect of the actor’s strengths and amplify them, Panos Cosmatos amplifying the rage of Cage in “Mandy,” Michael Sarnoski amplifying the quiet sadness behind Cage’s eyes in “Pig,” just to name a few. 

Gormican makes use of Cage’s brilliant ability to be self-deprecating, the amount of jokes where Cage is the butt is vast, I lost count after the first 20 minutes. And Cage excels at comedy in a way that he hasn’t (intentionally) in years, consistently elevating the material to a level that a Nic Cage impersonator could only dream of achieving. From the get-go we are introduced to an all-too-real Nic Cage, talking with a director (David Gordon Green), about the role and “how it’ll change it all around and he’ll be back- not that he went anywhere” However it isn’t all on Cage, his partner in all the craziness that goes down is Pedro Pascal’s Javi, and from their first scene together, Cage being there to attend a birthday party for a billionaire, who just so happens to be Javi, their chemistry is evident. Their love and friendship are so pure that you can’t believe that it’s acting, I can see Pascal and Cage watching any number of movies together or going on crazy adventures, it’s a true commendation to each actor’s talents. 

Breaking up Cage’s fun are CIA Agents Vivian and Martin Etten (Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz) who suspect Javi of some “illicit” dealings, and Cage goes through another fantasy, CIA spy. Speaking of emotions, the core of this movie is a lot, Nic and Javi, Nic and his daughter, Addy (Lily Sheen), and Nic and his ex-wife, Olivia (Sharon Horgan), its a lot of weight for some massive talent. But that’s ultimately what Gormican has created, someone who is extremely talented, but fell off his way, corrupting his relationships with everyone close, who meets someone new, and how he helps Cage get back to his family. And Gormican balances all of this without any issue. This is not only a great inside look at Hollywood, but one that actively makes fun of it, a spy thriller, and a family dramedy all in one.

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” Trailer

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is in wide theatrical release.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

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