#47 The Family Man

#47 The Family Man
Year: 2000
Director: Brett Ratner
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Epic Co-stars: Tea Leoni, Don Cheadle, Robert Downey Sr.
Running Time: 125 mins
Cage Time: 95%
Cage Kills: 0
Cage Flip-outs: 5
James' Review: You may be thinking to yourself "Sure, Mr. Cage can nail high flying action, insane criminals, art-house trash, and even a grind house style hero.  But can he really play a down to earth guy who you root for because you really like him?"  Well wonder no more...  The answer is a firm YES.  And in true Cage fashion he while also wearing a $1,000 suit and driving a Ferrari.  

If Dr. Cage ever decides he's tired of being the wold's #1 actor he can easily switch over to being the world's #1 topless opera singer.
Jack (Nic Cage) is a successful, narcissistic Wall Street broker. He lives in a penthouse apartment in Manhattan, enjoys casual sex with model-esque strangers, and drives an amazing Ferrari (you'll recall his stipulation about driving awesome cars in all of his movies). After working late on Christmas Eve, he intervenes in a convenience store stick-up and finds himself telling Don Cheadle that, although "everybody needs something," he has everything he needs. Turns out Don Cheadle is an angel or something, and he takes this as a challenge to show Jack  a glimpse of what he's missing-- namely, an alternate life where he marries his college girlfriend, Kate, and raises kids with her in New Jersey.  Finally an answer to the question of what to get the guy who seemingly has everything.

Yet another unsuspecting and helpless victim.
The Family Man is an instant Christmas classic.  It draws themes from both A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life (Cage is even a bit Jimmy Stewart-esque at times).  All of the classic Christmas fodder is there: Christmas parties, cute kids, a guy who doesn't know what he's missing, a guy who finally figures out what he's missing, and asshole being told off, and more feel good family love than you would care to have crammed into two glorious Cage enriched hours.  Really all that is missing is a talking snowman and an elf who desperately wants to become a dentist.

It's a treat for any small child to get the chance to encounter pure excellence at such an early stage in life.
In all, The Family Man sets the stage for Dr. Cage to once again establish himself as a well rounded actor that can make a strong human connection.  It's easy to peg Cage as an over the top action hero who does nothing but kick ass and take names.  But when he needs to (and the script calls for it), The Family Man shows that he can easily put on the charm and pull on your heart strings.  He reminds us here that although money and prestige are very alluring, they are really just a temporary plug for the void left by the absence of true love from family and friends.  This serves as a nice parallel to his acting career; so many high flying roles dazzle us in the moment but ultimately leave us wanting more from the characters he plays.  But once in a while when you really need it Cage fills your soul with his all powerful and unbounded love to once again show you what really matters in life.

This sums up the true divine spirit and nature of Dr. Cage better than any number of words ever could.

Movie quotability:
  • "You're a credit to capitalism, Jack."
  • "Old flames are like old tax returns. Put 'em in the filing cabinet for three years, then cut 'em loose."
  • "Not cute. Not cute!"
  • "You mean because you thought I was cocky, I am now on a PERMANENT! ACID TRIP!?" 
  • "I'm sorry I was such a saint before, and I'm such a PRICK! NOW!"
  • "Forget it. We'll get a funnel cake. It'll be the highlight of my week."
  • "This is New York, this is like the needy people capital of the world. Your Jersey clients aren't a tenth as needy as the clients you'll have here."

Plot Holes:
  • This is a stupid plot hole, but everyone wants me to point out that someone who was going to have triple bypass surgery the following day would already be in the hospital, not at a party.

Exceeds Expectations
!Teared up in the Cage!


Ride the Snake said...

Not bad. Kind of sad really. It would suck to get your ferrari taken away from you

James Ayers said...

Great comment Snake Rider. I think you've really captured the essence of what this movie was trying to say.

Steve M said...

This has always been a favorite of mine and I think I've seen it 4 or 5 times over the years. I don't know exactly why, but I think the appeals is the combination of someone in search of happiness and realizing that you can forgo a very profitable career (PhD) and still have a happy and fulfilling life (MS). It is also set in winter and around the holidays with snow on the ground that just makes you all warm and fuzzy inside and lets you live a fantasy where there is snow on the ground in the winter.

According to my RN wife that helps do heart surgery every day, it is possible to be at a party the day before your triple bypass surgery and be porking out on the food. It all depends on what your condition is at the time. Not everyone is lying in the hospital on the brink of death before heart surgery.

As my wife pointed out, you can't have a movie like this any more where you run to the gate at the airport and catch them right before they board. You best be there an hour earlier and catch them in the security line.

A few nit picks:
1) No one moves on Christmas day and I doubt any moving companies would be open on Christmas day. Even if there were open, who would want a family life with a woman that cared so little for the family holiday gatherings of others?
2) Eggnog is exactly "Five Dolla" yet 20oz of soda is only $0.99. I don't know eggnog prices at convenience stores in NY in 2000, but I'm thinking $5 is a bit high.
3) Hardly anyone had a NY or NJ accent so when someone did they sounded out of place.

KaBluie said...

#2 = I watched this on the 18th. (First Time View) I enjoyed it.

imt3ja said...

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