I watched The Family Man with Megan [my girlfriend] last week [Sept. 2006], as I continue to catch up on movies I wanted to see 6 years ago. I understand it was not well-reviewed, but I thought it was pretty good. I give it a B, maybe even a B+.One of the good things about the movie is seeing Jeremy Piven again, one of the better parts of the old Ellen tv show. He was robbed when his show Cupid was canceled. But it’s Tea Leoni, not Nick Cage, who owns this movie. Nick is playing a character when his role calls for an everyman, but Tea shines as someone we can care about and empathize with, an anchor of normalcy in an otherwise weird movie. I remember when Deep Impact came out and Tea was being raked by the critics as a nobody from television and what was she doing headlining a movie? Well, here she really shows what she can do emotionally and she hits the notes just right.
It’s the movie itself that detracts from itself. It’s like It’s a Wonderful Life where Cage gets to see what his life would have been like had he stayed with his girlfriend. Unfortunately, he is sent to see this glimpse by an obnoxious criminal/angel played by Don Cheadle whose motivation seems unclear, but he possibly has done this so he can drive Cage’s Ferrari in the new timeline. Cage confronts Cheadle twice about messing with his mind and his life like this, but Cheadle gets off scott free for it. I would have liked to see Cage kick him in the nards.
I mentioned timeline because the movie seems to be suggesting that, instead of altering time for Cage, Cage has been shunted to an alternate timeline and displaced the Cage in Timeline B. This really stinks, because Cage A stays there in Cage B’s place for a whole year while Cage B is — where? Hovering in limbo?
My third problem is that timeline B is more interesting than timeline A, yet only timeline A is resolved by movie’s end. What about Piven? Are he and Cage B ever friends again? Will they ever win the bowling trophy? This stuff matters to me more than Cage A’s multi-million dollar deals.