Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Premise: A television weather anchor (Nicolas Cage) attempts to gain control of his life while facing dissatisfaction with his family and his line of work.
What Works: As David Spritz, Nicolas Cage plays the kind of character he does best: the neurotic, nearly cracked man seeking a new life. In this film, Cage puts on more restraint than usual and plays the role as a caring man who is too overwhelmed with his personal problems to overcome his neuroses. The Weather Man uses this to comic effect as Spritz keeps on walking into traps of his own making but the filmmakers place these traps in a context that makes him sympathetic. These traps are complicated further by dialogue that is full of jokes, some of them very profane, but that also reveal character. Spritz has some very interesting relationships, particularly with his daughter Shelley (Gemmenne de la Peña) and his father (Michael Caine). Caine underplays the role and lets the dialogue act for him. The results are some big laughs and a few touching scenes as well. The picture is well unified, utilizing the idiosyncrasies of Spritz’s occupation as a framework for the rest of his life.
What Doesn’t: The one area of the film that is untreated is the relationship between Spritz and his son (Nicholas Hoult). This narrative is incomplete and misses out on opportunities to compare and contrast with the relationship between Spritz and his father.
DVD extras: Featurettes, trailer.
Bottom Line: The Weather Man is a great movie about new beginnings, and when those new beginnings are no longer possible. In that sense, the film is about letting go and breaking out of cycles that keep people unhappy. Equally humorous and sad, The Weather Man is an entertaining attempt to distill the way so many people lead their lives.
Episode: #122 (December 17, 2006)