Urban Cinefile
"What I do ends up as what's called Method Acting, although I'm not a notable proponent of it. I let the emotions be the motor."  -Gregory Peck
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A VIDEO_FILE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

FAMILY MAN, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage) says goodbye to his girlfriend Kate (Tea Leoni), as he heads off to London for a career uplift, promising they’d only be apart for a year. But 13 years later, he’s a wealthy business executive in New York. When he gets involved in a grocery store fracas with Cash (Don Cheadle) his life takes a surprising new turn, as he wakes up next morning not as the playboy bachelor, but as the family man with Kate, in a crumpled New Jersey house and a job selling tyres. It’s a Christmas surprise all right, complete with a six year old daughter. Jack has to figure it all out, and discover whether, as he first tells Cash, he has everything he ever wanted. . .

"It’s contrived schmaltz, but it’s well oiled contrived schmaltz, and Nicolas Cage delivers enough credibility as the non-plussed Jack thrown into a new, ‘what-if’ life, to make the movie somewhat more than tolerable. Tea Leoni is also effective, and the screenplay has these two actors to thank for not coming across as entirely cheesy. (Although having a toddler who can barely speak mouth a line like: "Now you’re getting the idea," is definitely cheesy.) The premise is not new, and needs to be handled with either profound dramatic sensibilities or a playful wit. While there’s nothing wrong with Brett Ranter’s direction, there’s not much that isn’t formulaic about it either. It’s smooth, predictable, sometimes intriguing and occasionally moving, with a decent enough heart that concerns itself with the real values of life. In some respects, this is Hollywood wearing its heart on its sleeve: decent family values versus ambition and material success. For those who like to decry Hollywood as a heartless beast, this is another example of how it tries desperately to foster decency and tolerance and goodness and all that sort of positive stuff – even if it can’t always pull it off with class. The editing, music and production design are too predictable and driven by conveyor belt aesthetics for my liking, and the film is too long for its own good. It loses the punch it could have had with a tighter focus and more dash. Or wit, if you like. In all, a mixed bag."
Andrew L. Urban

"From Wall Street with a wicked wardrobe to flannelette pyjamas and dirty nappies, The Family Man is a feel-good romantic comedy about life's choices. In many ways it's an old fashioned film, whose protagonist might have been played by Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart. It explores the value of family, relationships and all those priceless things that money can't buy. Structured similarly to Me Myself I, with shades of Sliding Doors, City of Angels and It's a Wonderful Life, it's heart warming without being sentimental, displaying dozens of delectable moments. While conceptually it may not be totally original, it's execution well and truly makes up for it with two powerhouse performances by Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni. Cage epitomises greed is good, revelling in his fabulous Ferrari, divine designer suits, digs with dazzling vistas, while wild women fall at his feet. No wonder he feels that old flames are like old tax returns – they get filed away in a drawer before losing them permanently. He is the man who has everything including control; he doesn't realise there's anything missing. Téa Leoni injects a compelling energy into Kate, allowing her to colour the mood of the film with her infectious personality. The chemistry is explosive, and the script cleverly leads us along paths that are never too predictable. Visually slick with a simply beautiful score by Danny Elfman, The Family Man is delightful entertainment – it's romantic, funny, moving and thought provoking all at once."
Louise Keller

Email this article

HEAR Andrew L. Urban & Louise Keller talk about the film in Real Audio.

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

TRAILER

FAMILY MAN, THE (M)
(US)

CAST: Nicolas Cage, Tea Leonie, Jeremy Piven, Don Cheadle

PRODUCERS: Marc Abraham, Tony Ludwig, Alan Riche, Howard Rosenman

DIRECTOR: Brett Ratner

SCRIPT: David Diamond, David Weissman

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Dante Spinotti

EDITOR: Mark Helfrich

MUSIC: Danny Elfman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Kristi Zea

RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 25, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: August 8, 2001







© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017