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The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent Blu-ray review: “Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal having the time of their lives in Tom Gormican’s entertaining caper”

Directed by Tom Gormican, and co-written with Kevin EttenThe Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is one of those films that some critics, clearly trying to not enjoy themselves, may push away with the common sneers but this one is for the audiences and while not everyone will get it, if you’re a fan of Nicolas Cage in any form, then he’s back (was he ever away?) and alongside a scene-stealing Pedro Pascal, you’ve got a hilariously mad lead duo.

In TUWOFMT, Cage stars as Nick Cage – yes, that’s correct – sitting us in the silhouetted sunset of his career, with a character that’s the spirit of Cage with a hint of DiCaprio/Tarantino’s Rick Dalton. You see, he’s an actor who’s creatively unsatisfied but in need of cash to pay off rising debts. He’s also lost his way with his home life, as his daughter Addy (an excellent Lily Sheen) and ex-wife Olivia – played by the on-fire Sharon Horgan – are struggling to take him seriously as an actor and, worse still, a respectable father figure.

After another acting job falls through, our fictionalised Cage an offer via his agent Richard (Neil Patrick Harris) from superfan Javi Gutierrez (an outstanding Pedro Pascal), who’ll pay him $1 million to attend his birthday. But, you see, Javi has ties to various crime families, and things take an awry turn when Cage is unintentionally caught up in a CIA operation led by Tiffany Haddish’s Vivian (an actor on a great run right now) and becomes an informant, thus balancing him right in the middle of a quandary of huge proportions. However, there is a way to get through it all, and that’s for Nicolas to channel his iconic characters to save himself, kick off an unexpectedly affectionate relationship with his superfan, and put on his best ever performance as himself.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is silly, but I mean that positively. It’s packed with perfect quotable moments, and scenes made for re-watching and appreciating. While the story is straightforward, it’s actually a smart twist on the usual because of the self-referential nature of actors and the very world it’s imitating: Hollywood. While Cage has the time of his life, and I very much enjoyed seeing him flip through old roles at certain moments, he also creates a character arc that travels from complete loss of self, through almost every genre, right up to genuinely touching closing moments.

But Massive Talent wouldn’t quite be the same vehicle, were it not for his relationship and chemistry with Pedro Pascal’s Javi, who is fully immersed in his fanboy fantasies for Cage, his work and status as an iconic actor. Pascal embraces all the joy and child-like fervour of anyone who loves film, and their bromance/friendship affair develops quite brilliantly. This is one of those films with a classic on-screen ‘pair’ who go on a trip together and you can give in there with them.

The wall climbing scene, the LSD moments, the misunderstanding of situations and that shoe swapping was inspired, and the line “should have trusted my shenanigans instincts of a thespian!” killed me. It’s been a long time since I sat satisfied at the end of a film with a big grin on my face, grab a beer and enjoy the killer escapism of this entertaining caper.

The Blu-ray extras are also a wonder, and with commentary, and thankfully a good selection considering the cult nature of this film that’s sure to build and build over years to come:

– Audio commentary by writer/director Tom Gormican and writer Kevin Etten

– Deleted scenes (with optional audio commentary by writer/director Tom Gormican and writer Kevin Etten)

– The Mind

– Glimmers of a Bygone Cage

– Everybody Needs a Javi

– Nick, Nicky, and Sergio

– Second Act Action

– Cages 5 and Up

– SXSW Film Festival Q&A

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is out on Blu-ray, 4K UHD and DVD now: https://amzn.to/3P1dQQ6


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