Family Man

Joe's Preview Review

Dumb holiday movie to make a lot of money.

Joe's Review

The holidays have arrived as they do every year. When I hear the word Christmas, I think Oscar time and large budgeted mediocrity. The top notch films of the year are being released on 2 screens to generate word of mouth while millions of people pack in to the 3000 screens serving up what the studios have dubbed there feel-good movies of the year. There's a reason why this time of year has the highest suicide rates, and it's not always credit card bills. I'm sure every year we lose a few more critics who decide to end their own life rather than sift through and review 25 worthless movies being released on one day in December.  Family Man is no Oscar film.

Being that it is the holidays, I will try and highlight the good points of the movie and not over scrutinize the blatantly obvious inherent problems with the movie. In this sort of modern day rehash of It's a Wonderful Life, Nicholas Cage plays wall street power broker Jack Campbell, a man who thinks he has it all. Then all of a sudden, one Christmas Day, he is transported to an alternate reality in which he is no longer a solitary millionaire but rather a tire salesman from New Jersey making 5 digits.

He is put on this journey by an angelical figure played masterfully by one of the modern day masters of the supporting role, Don Cheadle. He's not in enough scenes to make this movie good but all the scenes he's in belong to him. The movie also features another scene stealer, the hilarious Jeremy Piven from PCU, one of those under appreciated masterpieces, and Grosse Pointe Blank.

In this alternate universe, Jack gave up Wall Street to marry his college sweetheart played by Tea Leoni. Tea is excellent as the stunning, quick-witted housewife and bearer of Jack's multiple children. The story gets more contrived. Lovey dovey stuff takes the forefront to assist in this film's addition into the romantic comedy trash heap. The usual problems take place.  You know the drill.

Nicholas Cage is funny, I guess. He's an OK actor. He can be a great comedic actor, Raising Arizona, or awful, Trapped in Paradise or It Could Happen to You. I don't have anything against him, he can be great at times but for every good performance he puts in there seems to be three bad ones. Last year, he put in a Oscar worthy performance as a deeply disturbed medic in New York City in Bringing Out The Dead.

Family Man's a good time filler. It has some funny lines, and some flashy cars but like a fickle three year old, you'll get tired of it very quickly. The film also gets special recognition for giving New Jersey a proper bashing. But this film is just dead from the beginning.  Nothing new to introduce, the movie tries to stand on it's entertainment value alone.  It's expectedly predictable and mildly entertaining but that doesn't merit my recommendation.  If there were nothing else to see this holiday season, I'd still wait 3 months and watch this on video.

Rating: 2 out of 4 Stars
Reviewed by: Joe Soria
Running Time: 125 minutes
Rated PG-13 for sensuality and some language

Classics by U2, Chris Isaak, Edwin McCain, and Elvis Costello.



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