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The Family Man (2000)

Action & Adventure and Drama movie directed by Brett Ratner

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A Really Engrossing Film

  • Jun 29, 2004
Rating:
+3
This movie borrows from It's a Wonderful Life and the book Replay, where a man can go back and see how his life would be if he made a different choice.

In this movie, Nicholas Cage says goodbye to his girlfriend (Kate) at the airport. He is going to London for a job. We next see him years later as a successful head of a large corporation, unmarried and basically involved in one-night stands. We are later to find out that when Cage went to London, he forgot about Kate and she went her own way, never to be heard from again.

Cage is on the way home from the office during a snow-storm and thwarts a robbery. The audience expects the robber to shoot cage but instead Cage seems to convince the robber that he would be a better man if he didn't shoot Cage. It turns out that the robber is not really a robber but a type of Angel (similar to Clarence in It's a Wonderful Life) who will give Cage a glimpse of what life would be like if he hadn't stayed in London but instead came back and married Kate.

Cage goes to sleep in his luxury apartment and wakes up the next morning in a bed with an older Kate. Cage slowly learns that he is really a married man with a family and instead of a big time corporate president, he is a tire salesman in his father-in-law's store.

There are several hilarious scenes and some very touching ones. His "new" life looks like a nightmare at first turns out to be the life he will eventually prefer (Some of this is reminiscent of Goldie Hawn in Overboard). Only until he realizes this, he will not be returned to his prior life by the Angel.

The director does a great job in giving us an ending that is different than what you seem to expect. I won't say what but I think it was well done.

One thing that is not explored is that when Cage's glimpsed life finishes, he will lose his two children from that glimpsed life. The director never touches on Cage's feelings about that, unlike the novel Replay where the main character is torn apart because a child he had in an alternate life no longer exists when he is in a different reality.

The movie is well cast and Don Cheadle is excellent as the "angel."

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Ranked #9
I first got on this blog to discuss my first passion which is books. Since I have gotten on I find that books are only a piece of this blog and I can discuss just about anything that comes to mind. It … more
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About this movie

Wiki

Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage) is the quintessential Wall Street shark, scoring killer deals by day and shallow escort sex by night. His round-the-clock routine of empty luxuries is disturbed one lonely Christmas Eve when a gun-packing punk (Don Cheadle)--perhaps an angel of mercy--responds to an altruistic gesture from Jack by giving him "a glimpse" of the life he could have had.Could have, that is, if he had married the girlfriend (Téa Leoni) he'd abandoned 13 years earlier, raised two adorable children, worked in his father-in-law's retail tire outlet, and lived happily ever after in suburban New Jersey. Thrust into this "glimpse" of the path not taken, Jack's a single-malt man in a lite-brew world, wondering if he'll ever return to his "better" life of callous wealth and solitude--or if he even wants to.

Carp all you want about this derivative premise, with its marginal stereotypes and biased embrace of domestic bliss and dirty diapers. The simple fact is, The Family Man works like a charm. Under the assured direction of Brett Ratner (Rush Hour), this holiday crowd-pleaser offers comedy and chemistry in equal measure, making the hilarity of Jack's predicament a smooth catalyst for that rarest of movie romances: the marital love story. Leoni is Cage's perfect match as Jack's idealized but imperfect wife, and the movie's appeal largely derives from its awareness that any life has its pleasures and pains. While it only flirts with the dark desperation that makes It's a ...

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Details

Director: Brett Ratner
Genre: Action, Drama, Adventure
Screen Writer: David Diamond, David Weissman
DVD Release Date: July 17, 2001
Runtime: 125 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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