“I’m sorry I was such a saint before, and I’m such a PRICK now!”
I should say as a precursor to this review that I absolutely love Nic Cage as an actor. Not just as a figure of fun but as an unpredictable ball of energy. He is charismatic, funny and crazy. All good qualities for an on-screen presence. Cage is not just unintentionally funny, although he is that, but he is actually a great comic actor in his own right. He doesn’t get much of a chance to show it in The Family Man but the times when he does provide some of the films finest moments.
Plot: Jack Campbell awakes one Christmas morning to find he is no longer a big shot on wall street. He must make do with living in a massive house with his beautiful wife and adorable children. Quite the conundrum. And that is pretty much it. That’s the movie.
Coming out in 2000 means that we are in peak Cage time. This is utterly vintage Cage. From randomly speaking to mirrors and television sets to enunciating arbitrary certain words in a sentence. From idly chatting to dogs to shouting out non-sequiturs before flying off on wild tangents. You often get the feeling with Nicolas Cage that he isn’t an actor at all. Just a man who veers wildly from set to set, causing chaos and havoc wherever his almighty grin chooses to land.
Cage aside however, The Family Man isn’t a classic. Which is a shame because both Tea Leoni and an underused Don Cheadle are also excellent. The problem lies with the predictable and schmaltzy script and the lazy direction. Also, The Family Man isn’t much of a Christmas film. Sure it takes place around Christmas time and it hits all the right notes emotionally, but Christmas isn’t really central to the plot. Disappointingly, Cage never crashes into a room wearing nothing but a santa hat whilst wildly screaming his own name. Feels like a bit of a missed opportunity…