The Family Man
Review by Ross Anthony

"The plan doesn't make us great, Jack, it's what we have together that makes us great. I choose us," pleads college sweetheart Kate (Leoni) as she urges Jack to abandon his London trip.

Jack (Cage) kisses her and replies, "One year's not going to change that."

Thirteen years later, it's 8:30 PM on Christmas Eve and Jack, now a high profile stock exec. The Family Manarchitects the close of a multi-billion dollar merger.

He's confident, slick, chipper, quick with the ladies, slick in his expensive suits; but it's Christmas and everyone else wants to be home with their families. One small good deed and a streetwise angel later, Jack plummets into the family life he might have had with Kate if only...

Most of the film's humor arises as Cage wincingly accepts his cheesy, mediocre surroundings, clothes and menu. However, his rich tastes were never really established early on. Yes, we saw the suits, the Ferrari, the women. But aside from the ladies, Cage didn't demonstratively revel in these delicacies.

I would have suggested these tweaks. Have Jack pull out a suit in the morning ... put his nose to the lapel and smell that quality. As he leaves the Ferrari with the valet, "Ralph, you know what, could you have the shop check the clutch tension, it hesitates ever so slightly shifting into fifth." Lastly, have him return his working lunch because the shrimp were obviously over-iced. These embellishments would have augmented the later humor of Jack's distaste with bowling jerseys etc.

It's not a bad "Christmas Carol" variation and Cage & Leoni are strong enough to smooth out other subtle problems including a cliche score and linear story line (Cage is always on screen). Also displaying acting prowess, Makenzie Vega, the little girl playing daughter Annie.

Though, a tad slow and a tad long on the clock, "Family Man" rests on its charm, never falling short of pleasant.

  • The Family Man. Copyright © 2000. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring Nicolas Cage, Tea Leoni, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Piven, Saul Rubinek, Josef Sommer, Makenzie Vega.
  • Directed by Brett Ratner.
  • Written by David Diamond, David Weissman.
  • Produced by Marc Abraham, Zvi Howard Rosenman,Tony Ludwig, Alan Riche.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:10:47 PDT