beginning to look a lot like Christmas
aww, the next slew of Christmas movies
begins to trickle in, starting with THE
FAMILY MAN. Predictable yet endearing,
THE FAMILY MAN's plot wound its way to
the eventual, banal dénouement
with a few surprising laughs interspersed.
The plot revolves around the exhausted
"what if" scenario-in this case,
what if Jack (Cage) married his college
sweetie, Kate (Leoni).
Jack Campbell, capitalistic megalomaniac,
has been chosen to realize the error of
his ways and the true spirit of Christmas
by humorous prophet, Cash (Cheadle). After
a run-in with Cash at a convenience store,
Jack is magically transported into a different
and wonderful life.
night Jack goes to bed a greedy bachelor
on silk sheets. The next morning he wakes
up a loving husband and father in flannel
PJs. As Jack yearns to return to his Material
World, he falls back in love with Kate
and adjusts to life as a tire salesman
for Big Ed's (Kate's father's biz). But
what to Jack's wondering eyes should appear?
Cash returns him to his old life with
nary a tear!
scenes, one from each life Jack experiences,
really made me laugh. One was a scene,
delivered with the usual Cage gusto, of
Jack the Capitalist strutting through
his walk-in closet in black bikini underwear,
singing the Rigoletto aria "La donna
e mobile" at the top of his voice.
It reminded me of his Ronnie character
in MOONSTRUCK, which featured La Boheme.
next scene that had the entire audience
in hysterics was Jack the Dad changing
his baby son's diaper. In mid-change,
a yellow fountain spurts into Jack's direction.
A smile crosses Jack's face, and he laughs
along with his daughter who's watching
everything nearby. Characterizing Jack
as an adorable and adoring father figure,
this scene starkly contrasts his previous
with these great scenes, there was a little
cheese. Before each transfer to his other
life, Jack looks into the sky, snow falls
gently on his face in an act of purification,
and Danny Elfman's angelic chorus sings
in the background. The shot is out of
place in this comedy. Maybe if this were
a symbolic drama its placement would be
appropriate. But in THE FAMILY MAN it
is just cheesy.
movie had moments of laughter and moments
of dynamic chemistry between Cage and
Leoni. But when weighted down by a plot
as heavy as an anchor, the movie had to
sink. I'd recommend this movie as perfect
for a date video rental, but don't waste
money in the theatres.