The Family Man Borrowing from such movies as Sliding Doors and Me Myself I, The Family Man has Jack wake up one morning to the suburban life he might have lived if he hadn't gotten on that airplane. Kate is his wife, but there are a couple of kids attached, and a dog who's an endless source of slobber and poo. Oh, and a closet full of clothes that are supposed to be tacky as hell but just happen to include my own winter coat. (Hey, I paid good money for that coat.) Playing off the disparities between Jack's two lives, the movie settles into a culture-clash comedy groove, which Cage, with his taste for the absurd, treats like a production of Ionesco's The Bald Soprano. Overreacting without quite overacting, Cage is good for several laughs, as when Jack gets his first good look at a used diaper. But he also darkens the movie a shade. That must be what director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) was after. Unlike that old roasted chestnut It's a Wonderful Life, which is drenched in nostalgia for a time that never was, The Family Man isn't afraid to let us know how harrowingly banal life in Middle America can be. (Jack's horror that he now works at Big Ed's Tire Center is our horror.) In fact, Ratner may have taken things too far, leaving some of us wishing that Jack would get sent back to Wall Street, where the movie's true funny bone seems to lie. In a small role as Jack's Girl Friday, Mary Beth Hurt shows the wicked glee underlying The Art of the Deal. And Cage seems to make more sense behind the wheel of a Ferrari than behind the wheel of a Dodge minivan. He was similarly miscast, by the way, as the nice-guy cop in the equally Capra-esque It Could Happen to You. And yet he can be surprisingly effective when the movie suddenly stops in its tracks and gets serious. For Kate, who has no idea she's part of a modern-day Christmas Carol, Jack's insistence that this isn't really his life is like an especially brutal midlife crisis. Leoni does a pretty good job, especially considering that the script has her character twisting like a pretzel to accommodate Jack's many moods. I wish she were more of a natural comedian; she gives off this uptight-WASP vibe, which is hard to warm up to. Actually, the whole movie's a little hard to warm up to. It's supposed to be a heart-warmer, not a heart-breaker--a Christmas present to Joe and Jane Six-Pack, who would take the minivan over the Ferrari any day. (Yeah, right.) "I choose us," Kate and Jack say at strategic moments. By "us," they mean you and me.
Donald Trump, eat your heart out.