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Another Revolting Regurgitation

  • Jul 31, 2011
  • by
Rating:
-3
Here, ultrahack Brett Ratner and the profoundly untalented screenwriting duo of David Diamond and David Weissman perform an inexplicable and boring magic trick by stretching a well-worn scenario that could barely suffice as a half-hour television show into the longest two hours and six minutes in the history of motion pictures. I often check the time counter of my DVD player once, maybe twice when viewing a movie; while watching this slogging, entirely uninspired dreck, I checked it over a dozen times, always bewildered by how little time had actually elapsed.

Nicolas Cage plays a successful Wall Street broker with no social life and, like every other character of this rancid story, nary a whit of personality, either. With the aid of sassy, magical, pistol-wielding Don Cheadle, he's transported to an alternate dimension in which he sells tires and is blessed with a loving family...the life he could have had if he hadn't gotten on THAT PLANE thirteen years ago! Christ, what a pristine concept! It's the life he could have had, but he doesn't realize how much better it is to have a family than an nine-figure bank account and investment assets out the wazoo until he experiences a succession of charmless, totally predictable incidents in the life of a godforsaken Jersey NORP.

This story's conflict of choice is utterly beyond me; why does Cage want to move back to NYC and start his career over with his surprise brood when he lives in a gigantic house beyond the means of all but the most prosperous middle-class families (it's cute when production designers who live in ivory towers try to depict the working-class household) and could simply quit his job and use what he knows to engage in insider trading without ever being caught? The performances are bland at best (Cage, Téa Leoni) and infuriating at worst: as always, Jeremy Piven is enragingly obnoxious, so annoying in his overacting that I'd thrill to see him thrown into rush hour traffic on the Long Island Expressway. Saddled with yet more ugly, blue-tinted photography, Ratner's direction would be rote if it weren't so calculatedly, pointlessly drawn - there's no depth here to convey; he's just dragging every scene out as long as he possibly can to satisfy studio expectations of a two-hour feature.

If you want to see almost everything that's wrong with American cinema, Ratner's filmography and this flavorless entry in particular are endemic of it. This is gutless, brainless, wholly derivative film making. It's bound to insult the intelligence of any viewer with a triple-digit IQ who makes the mistake of watching it. Consider yourself warned.

Incredible - Universal barely graced Dune with an adequate DVD edition the first time around, but this garbage was treated to all the trimmings. These include nine deleted scenes (as if this wasn't already three-fourths too long), a featurette that's probably handy if you're out of NyQuil and three (THREE, HOLY CHRIST) commentary tracks: one by Ratner, Diamond and Weissman that surely sounds like a great sucking noise, another from producer Marc Abraham that's about as fascinating as tax code literature and one more in which Danny Elfman discusses the movie's insipid, sleigh bell-tinged score, probably the worst that he's composed. Couldn't Elfman have voiced a commentary track for Beetlejuice or Batman? Perhaps the most extraordinary feat of his career is to explain a score that sounds as though he wrote it on a napkin or three during a conversation, in the course of two hours. If all this doesn't put you to sleep, a Seal music video rounds out the special features on this disc. Zzzzzz.

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More The Family Man reviews
review by . December 10, 2009
A great a heartwarming rendition of a classic Christmas tale...
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review by . April 29, 2009
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Robert Buchanan ()
Ranked #30
I'm a bibliophile, ailurophile, inveterate aggregator, dedicated middlebrow and anastrophizing syntax addict. My personality type is that of superlative INTJ.
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