Twelve Days of Christmas Review #3: The Family Man (2000)


Subgenre:  Drama / Nicolas Cage

Summary:  A workaholic banker is shown a glimpse of the life he could’ve had if he’d taken a different path.

Review:  Jack Campbell has it all: a lucrative Wall Street job, the finest suits, and a string of casual hookups with beautiful women.  One day at work he gets a message from his ex-girlfriend, whom he’d broken up with thirteen years prior.  He blows her off, but later that night meets a mysterious stranger who gives him a “glimpse” of what life would be like had he married her.  For the next week or so, Jack lives in this alternate reality of modest means and emotional riches, and begins to see what’s truly important.

The Family Man is nothing you haven’t seen before.  Part It’s a Wonderful Life, part A Christmas Carol, it’s pretty standard-issue Christmas fare.  That being said, the unoriginality doesn’t negate its strong points, the main one being a fine performance by the always-reliable Nicolas Cage.  He works hard to make Jack more than a one-dimensional Scrooge, choosing instead to portray a sympathetic character who took the easy way out one too many times.  As for the plot, it goes exactly where you’d think it would, but that doesn’t stop it from being a fun ride.

The Verdict:  Light, predictable, and shamelessly feel-good, The Family Man is a Cage-filled Christmas treat.  I give it seven sentimental suits out of ten.

Leave a Reply