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Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage) has everything a man could want: a swank New York penthouse, a successful career on Wall Street, a silver Ferrari and an endless string of beautiful girlfriends. Then one morning he is shown something he doesn’t have: the love of Kate (Téa Leoni) the woman he left behind when he began his brilliant career. Jack gets a glimpse of the life he could have had, as a family man in the suburbs of New Jersey, and begins to wonder whether his playboy bachelor life is so perfect after all.

Reviewed by Stuart Whitmore:
A Capraesque winter warmer, mixed from equal parts It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, The Family Man should be too sickly sweet a confection for these cynical times—much like the Christmas eggnog Cage’s character is partial too. Instead it’s a well tuned rom com that balances classical leanings with contemporary attitude without making either feel forced.

With nothing new in the "look at what you could have won" concept, a good script, steady direction and solid performances were needed to make The Family Man worth watching, and it has all three. Cage is equally loveable as a driven single man or sweater-wearing suburbanite, reprising the two-faced role, one contented, one conceited, he played so well in Face/Off. But Leoni is the real revelation, her usual frosty demeanour melting away for the role of Kate. It’s a vital part. For the film to work the audience must find Kate adorable enough to believe Jack would give up his old life for her. Leoni is so convincing, the only wonder is why he left her in the first place.

Three audio commentaries are probably more than you need for fare such as this, but Ratner is nicely effusive in his, showing all the childish excitement for the film that got him the gig in the first place, and it’s always interesting to get into the head of a great composer such as Danny Elfman, here shedding his Gothic tendencies for a classic score. There’s also plenty more padding to flick through, including some classic Cage moments in the out-takes. All in all a nice surprise and a perfect movie to add to your Christmas Day playlist.

Published December 27, 2001

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CAST: Nicolas Cage, Téa Leoni, Don Cheadle, Saul Rubinek, Jeremy Piven

DIRECTOR: Brett Ratner

RUNNING TIME: 121 minutes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Ent
DVD RELEASE: Aug 8, 2001

SPECIAL FEATURES: Widescreen 2.35:1; Dolby Digital 5.1; 3 audio commentaries (director, producer, music director); The Making of The Family Man; Deleted scenes + out-takes; Talent profiles; Theatrical trailer; Music video; Montage; Alternate opening title sequence; Subtitles: English for the hearing impaired.

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