Imagine what your life might be like if you had made different choices – if you had said “yes” instead of ‘no”. That’s the theme in this charming holiday film starring Nicholas Cage and Téa Leoni. Certainly, this film traverses familiar movie territory but I have to say it is handled deftly and with genuine humor. Cage and Leoni are indeed well matched.
Cage plays Jack Campbell, a hot shot Wall Street player who believes he has everything he could possibly want and that includes a profitable job, a cool Ferrari, a well-appointed condo, exquisite clothes, beautiful girls and no distracting attachments.
On Christmas Eve and while right in the middle of a huge corporate merger, Jack crosses paths with a stranger (Don Cheadle as Cash) who bestows on him an odd “gift” – a glimpse of what life would be like for him if only Jack had chosen a different path – in this case his old girlfriend Kate Reynolds instead of life in the fast lane.
Well, life with Kate as you might imagine is a far cry from what he’s used to. It’s the slow lane in the suburbs of Teaneck, New Jersey where he now lives in a four bedroom house, struggles to make ends meet, has a minivan, a dog, two kids and a lousy job as a tire salesman.
Jack’s given but one clue and no choices this time around – to figure out why he’s there and when he’s done that, it will all go away. How well Jack travels this new road is what this film is all about, coping with the rigors of family life and a less than fulfilling job to learning what’s really important in life. And just as George Bailey learned in It’s a Wonderful Life that no man is a failure who has friends, Jack Campbell learns that no man is a success unless he has loved ones with whom to share his life.
Lotta says The Family Man is a lovely film this season to bring you good cheer and some very good laughs. There are several pricelessly funny scenes of Jack with his children. See it with someone you love.