Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Family Man

Nicolas Cage is one in a million when it comes to playing nervous guys. He easily can become a ball of nerves, like in "Matchstick Men" or this film, Brett Ratner's homage to the classic Christmas drama "It's a Wonderful Life." Nic Cage plays Jack Campbell, an investment broker who came oh so close to marrying Kate (Tea Leoni), but instead decided to go to Wall Street. Hence, guardian angel Cash (Don Cheadle) sends him into an alternative universe where he did marry Kate. To his at first horrifying dismay, he is now a tire salesman, he has kids, and he bowls with his friends, especially Arnie (Brett Ratner regular Jeremy Piven). This is all set up so that Jack realizes how much he could have had. Cue ending where he tries to find Kate. "The Family Man" is smart, funny, and a Thanksgiving favorite (for what reason I don't know). The chemistry between Cage and Leoni is very, very taut and well-done. But its real success sprouts from the comedy, especially when Cage shuns suburbia with the outburst on funnel cake, and also, when he finds a bottle of liquor in his desk, he remarks "I must of needed this every single day." Priceless. But the movie unfortunately stumbles quite a bit. It's also aimed slightly more at kids and adults than it should be. All jokes pertaining to Jack and his daughter were not very funny at all. Plus, during the end, during his big meeting with his past love, he actually thinks that he can have kids that he had in a dream. The exact same kids. Not likely. But getting beyond small problems and overall desperation to appeal to a wide audience, "The Family Man" really works, as it is a throwback to the great natures of the old filmmaking days. B

No comments: