Family Man

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By Mark Ramsey | 2000/12/05

Family Man opens with collegian Nic Cage in the midst of a life-changing decision: Does he:

A Go to London for a year, meet Patricia Arquette, and live happily ever after for 30 to 60 days or…

B Stay home with his school sweetheart, Téa Leoni, whose creepy long, straight hair suggests that while Man evolved from apes, Lilly Munster evolved from the beach in Santa Barbara

If he stays, Nic and Téa can move into the old Granville house, throw a lasso around the moon and pull it down. If he goes, Téa’s outta there, and Nic’s a wealthy Wall Street whiz who has sex with supermodel Amber Valletta – which explains why he wakes up singing but not why he evidently wears her panties to bed.

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With all the confidence that comes from the 20-years he appears to have just finished as an undergrad Nic takes what’s left of his hair and boards that plane. Night night Téa, morning Amber.

It is this fork in the road of life – the choice between work and would-be wife – that is the stuff Christmas movie dreams featuring numerous kids and dogs are made of.

Now I don’t know for a fact that Nic Cage has hair plugs, but it was certainly jarring when Téa knocked a golf ball in his direction and Nic reached to his head and yanked out a flag for the hole in one. E! Online reports that Nic’s comb uses a seeing-eye dog. “Hair-brushing,” says Nic, “is an exercise in creative visualization.”

Nic is a Merger and Acquisitions big-shot with a hundred charcoal suits in his closet – one for every hair on his head.

Through a random encounter in a convenience store, Nic is given a miraculous gift – a glimpse of what his life would have been had he not gotten on that plane.

And guess what, his would-be life is…YOURS!

To paraphrase Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, it’s a land of Wal*Mart wishes and Chucky Cheese dreams! It’s an alternate universe and, wouldn’t you know it, an alternate universe where everyone’s a bowler.

Calling all Soccer Moms! Button up the Christmas sweater, load up the SUV, and strap down the car-seat – Hollywood’s made one for you!

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If Two Men and a Baby didn’t pack enough changing table humor to tickle your funny bone – If your cinematic tastes run to doe-eyed kiddies with speech impediments and big doggies – If you crack up at the first sign of celebrity bed-head – If you’ve been waiting for a movie brave enough to provide two – count ‘em, two – appearances of the word “any-hoo” in one screenplay, then run don’t walk to Family Man this Christmas.

If ever there was a movie where the concession counter should offer Rice Krispies treats and Toll-House cookies, this is the one.

Now, when Yuletide carols are sung by a fire and folks are dressed up like Eskimos, movie audiences transform into Kris Kringle from the land of jingle-ling. Thus, every pre-pubescent lisp provoked a Pavolvian “aaawwww!” And watching an awkward Nic Cage fumble with poopy diapers had ‘em rolling in the aisles. For some folks at least, this movie will be a hit – for others it will be a hit in the head.

Naturally, Nic becomes increasingly comfortable as a suburban family man, so it’s time to snap him out of his dream and back to the bitter reality of his miserable Wall Street existence with Amber Valletta which, he now sees, is Pottersville – with Amber Valletta.

With a capper of an ending that leaves logic hog-tied and twisted tighter than a phone cord, you’ll be land-cruising the kids to gymnastics practice with a smile on your face and a song in your heart, even as selected neurons short-circuit, snap, sizzle and leave the building with Elvis.

Is it too late for Nic? Can he still find Téa? Can he still love the miserable old Building and Loan? Will there be a happy ending?

Does a fish swim?


Photos Copyright ©2000 Universal Pictures

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