The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, directed by Tom Gormican, follows Nicolas Cage (Mandy, plus too many to name) as Nic Cage, an amplified version of the actor, who finds himself in an existential quandary between reconnecting with his daughter Addy (Lily Sheen) and reigniting his Hollywood legacy. After the inability to revive either one, Nic announces his retirement from acting. His agent (Neil Patrick Harris; Gone Girl; How I Met Your Mother) offers a proposal that, if accepted, Nic stands to earn a cool million dollars to attend a birthday party for a wealthy Nicolas Cage superfan in Mallorca, Spain. As anyone in their right mind would, Nic scoffs at the idea of being anyone's trained monkey, then gives in with trepidation.
After All, What Does He Stand to Lose?
Apparently, Nick has much to gain. For starters, upon learning his superfan is Javi Gutierrez, portrayed by the indomitable Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian; Game of Thrones), they build an indisputable camaraderie. Cage and Pascal play off one another in a modern-day depiction of Abbott and Costello combined with the Stoppard-style Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Pascal himself has revealed he is much like his character in that they both harbor an immense appreciation for the real Nic Cage. This appears to uphold a sort of vulnerability when it comes to working with someone highly regarded because there's an impression to be made with the justification of Pascal's abilities. Without question, he's steadfastly genuine.
But Is Everything as It Seems?
As Nick and Javi’s friendship develops, they begin facing dualities neither one could have predicted. Nic is ambushed by CIA operant Vivian, none other than the queen of hilarity and recently-accepted Harvard student, Tiffany Haddish. She explains to Nick that Javi is a dangerous drugs and arms dealer. Furthermore, she believes Javi is the mastermind behind the kidnapping of a government official’s daughter in hopes they will step down in favor of a more cartel-friendly candidate, and that he has her hidden somewhere in his expansive compound. Nic dismisses this idea immediately, though a shadow of a doubt is cast in his mind, and agrees to spy on Javi.
Throughout Massive Talent, Nic’s vacillation between spy and friend weighs heavily upon him, but it does not dispel their rapport, as they both are now on the adventure of a lifetime. Much like his mentor, Pascal seamlessly transcends the genres of both drama and comedy, now spanning multiple mediums. Although the movie also explores friendship and family in such a relatable approach that anyone can appreciate, the action-packed and uber-meta factors provide pure escapism in its one hour and 47 minutes of run-time.
The referential tendencies uncover plenty of Easter eggs encompassing approximately four decades of Nicolas Cage’s body of work. Even for the casual viewer, it will be hard to not recognize most of these associations with Cage. One can only imagine about thirty to forty years from now if we will see the same for Pascal.
Where to Watch
Now that The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is available On-Demand (Amazon, Redbox), you’ll be able to pause and rewind to find any references that may have been missed! Physical releases on Blu-ray/DVD including steelbook forms will be available to rent or own on June 21st and can now be pre-ordered through most major retailers like Target.