Watchable Minutes: Out of the 1 hour 47 minute run time, I’d say there’s a solid 80 minutes of an enjoyable story. There’s quite a bit of fluff and meta content aplenty.
- Run time: 1 hour 47 minutes
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Director: Tom Gormican
- Where to Watch: In Theaters
Superstar Nick Cage is broke. He has worked himself out of A-list roles, alienated his daughter, and amassed a massive amount of debt in the process. Down on his luck after being locked out of his apartment, Nick is about to give up acting forever after he bombs an audition. As he contemplates his next steps his agent, Richard Fink, calls to tell him about a quick job he can take to earn some money. The job is a simple party appearance at a mysterious billionaire’s mansion. Cage takes the opportunity as a chance to reset his life and get back on track as quick as possible. Soon after arriving at the mansion, Cage is contacted by a CIA operative named Vivian and is recruited to take part in a mysterious plot that the billionaire and Cage Super Fan Javi Gutierrez seems to be a part of.
Nick Cage, a veteran actor in Hollywood with an impressive resume and even more impressive spending habits has eaten through his savings and alienated his teenage daughter. When the auditions start to dry up and his overbearing personality starts to drive a wedge between himself and potential roles, he decides it might be time to retire from acting. In a moment of despair, Nick is contacted by his agent, Richard Fink, who asks about making a guest appearance to earn a quick million dollars that Cage can use to start settling up some debts and get his life back on track. At first, Nick is hesitant but after getting locked out of his apartment, he realizes that beggars can’t be choosers. He flies to Majorca to take hangout with the mysterious billionaire Javi Guttierrez who is quite the Nick Cage super fan. After arriving at the airport and greeting Javi, Nick meets another fan who slips a tracking device into his jacket. Unbeknownst to Javi and Nick, that random fan is actually a CIA agent who has been tracking Javi and is trying to find evidence of his involvement in a kidnapping plot. As Nick and Javi hang out, they become friends over their shared love of cinema, particularly Paddington 2. A few days later, Nick is contacted by the CIA agents tracking Javi and is asked to take part in their mission. At first, Nick isn’t willing to participate, but he eventually gives in when he realizes that if it was his daughter who was kidnapped, nothing would stop him. Under the guise of his blooming friendship with Javi, Nick searches the grounds of the kidnapped girl.
The main issue with The Incredible Weight of Massive Talent is that it doesn’t take enough risks. There are a good amount of laughs throughout this absurd story, but it doesn’t lean into anything hard enough to generate a real impact on the story. Sure, the actual Nic Cage playing a “fictionalized” version of himself and getting recruited by the CIA to take down an evil Cage Super Fan sounds like a crazy idea. And it is, but there isn’t anything else to go along with it. The trailer sells the movie as if it’s going to be Cage reliving his glory days from his past movies and lots of jokes for movie buffs and fans of Cage’s filmography, but it stops after a few of those instances. While reference humor is used way too frequently in modern media, there are moments (like this) where it could shine and excel. Instead, there is a fairly basic story about an incompetent loser who gets caught up in something unexpected. It’s nothing that hasn’t been made a few thousand times already. There are a few whacky moments like Javy and Nick tripping on acid together and something with some golden guns, but that’s about as exciting as it gets.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is an exercise in meta storytelling, with lots of real-world commentaries. It’s a great concept with lots of potential payoff but it comes off as incredibly shallow but not quite boring. There were so many possible ways the story could have gone but ultimately the direction taken by Tom Gormican proved to be one of the safest and ultimately most audience-friendly. With such a risk-tolerant actor like Nicolas Cage, it is a little disappointing that there weren’t more risks taken. That said, Cage is his usual charismatic and energized self even this far into his career. The trailer that dazzled audiences and conjured up plenty of expectations contained almost all of the best parts from the actual movie which makes this one a tough watch in theaters. While The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent boasts a stellar cast of Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, and Tiffany Haddish, there isn’t enough to justify the cost of the ticket. There are some good laughs and nice easter eggs, but there isn’t a ton for the audience to sink their teeth into. Definitely wait for this one to hit streaming services.