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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Really Engrossing Film
This movie borrows from It's a Wonderful Life and the book Replay, where a man can go back and see how his life would be if he made a different choice.
In this movie, Nicholas Cage says goodbye to his girlfriend (Kate) at the airport. He is going to London for a job. We next see him years later as a successful head of a large corporation, unmarried and basically...
Published on June 29 2004 by Michael A. Newman

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Light and airy and sweet
Mix these movies up together, "It's a wonderful life", "Scrooged", and "Mr. Destiny" and you have a perfect recipe for "The Family Man".
Why?
It's a wonderful life: Nicholas Cage plays the male romantic lead who has a life affirming moment that has him go back in time and see how life could have been different. Well, in this story he does exist unlike George,...
Published on Nov. 22 2002 by Ei


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Really Engrossing Film, June 29 2004
This movie borrows from It's a Wonderful Life and the book Replay, where a man can go back and see how his life would be if he made a different choice.
In this movie, Nicholas Cage says goodbye to his girlfriend (Kate) at the airport. He is going to London for a job. We next see him years later as a successful head of a large corporation, unmarried and basically involved in one-night stands. We are later to find out that when Cage went to London, he forgot about Kate and she went her own way, never to be heard from again.
Cage is on the way home from the office during a snow-storm and thwarts a robbery. The audience expects the robber to shoot cage but instead Cage seems to convince the robber that he would be a better man if he didn't shoot Cage. It turns out that the robber is not really a robber but a type of Angel (similar to Clarence in It's a Wonderful Life) who will give Cage a glimpse of what life would be like if he hadn't stayed in London but instead came back and married Kate.
Cage goes to sleep in his luxury apartment and wakes up the next morning in a bed with an older Kate. Cage slowly learns that he is really a married man with a family and instead of a big time corporate president, he is a tire salesman in his father-in-law's store.
There are several hilarious scenes and some very touching ones. His "new" life looks like a nightmare at first turns out to be the life he will eventually prefer (Some of this is reminiscent of Goldie Hawn in Overboard). Only until he realizes this, he will not be returned to his prior life by the Angel.
The director does a great job in giving us an ending that is different than what you seem to expect. I won't say what but I think it was well done.
One thing that is not explored is that when Cage's glimpsed life finishes, he will lose his two children from that glimpsed life. The director never touches on Cage's feelings about that, unlike the novel Replay where the main character is torn apart because a child he had in an alternate life no longer exists when he is in a different reality.
The movie is well cast and Don Cheadle is excellent as the "angel."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Movie really reach me deep inside !, June 10 2004
By 
Jessy (Montréal, Canada) - See all my reviews
A modern-day Frank Capra story. Jack Campbell, a successful and talented businessman, is happily living his single life. He has everything, or so he thinks. One day he wakes up in a new life where he didn't leave his college girlfriend for a London trip. He's married to Kate, lives in Jersey and has two kids. He, of course, desperately wants his life back for which he has worked 13 years for. He's president of P. K. Lassiter Investment House and not a tire salesman at Big Ed's. He drives a Ferrari and not a mini-van that never starts. And most importantly he doesn't wake up in the morning with kids jumping on the bed. After a bad start, day by day he's more confident in his new life and starts to see what he's been missing. Turns out money's good to have but that's not everything.
- Jack Campbell: a 36 years old, 6'1'', Nicolas Cage.
- Kate Reynolds: a 34 years old, 5'8'', Téa Leoni.
- Annie Campbell: a 6 years old, Makenzie Vega, who is half-Colombian and half-Italian.
- Josh Campbell: Twin Brother Jake and Ryan Milkovich.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This Movie really reach me deep inside !, April 14 2004
A modern-day Frank Capra story. Jack Campbell, a successful and talented businessman, is happily living his single life. He has everything, or so he thinks. One day he wakes up in a new life where he didn't leave his college girlfriend for a London trip. He's married to Kate, lives in Jersey and has two kids. He, of course, desperately wants his life back for which he has worked 13 years for. He's president of P. K. Lassiter Investment House and not a tire salesman at Big Ed's. He drives a Ferrari and not a mini-van that never starts. And most importantly he doesn't wake up in the morning with kids jumping on the bed. After a bad start, day by day he's more confident in his new life and starts to see what he's been missing. Turns out money's good to have but that's not everything.
- Jack Campbell: a 36 years old, 6'1'', Nicolas Cage.
- Kate Reynolds: a 34 years old, 5'8'', Téa Leoni.
- Annie Campbell: a 6 years old, Makenzie Vega, who is half-Colombian and half-Italian.
- Josh Campbell: Twin Brother Jake and Ryan Milkovich.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A sparkle to a common theme, April 11 2004
By 
L. J Nary (Indio, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Family Man (VHS Tape)
The plot has been done before, such as in Sliding Doors, Me, Myself and I, etc. I liked those movies and I liked this movie. There was a shine a charisma, in the acting. I liked the way Cage personalized his role. I could really feel the realness of Tea's character. I also loved seeing Jeremy Piven in a supporting role. He could be a main character, he has the charm and wit that it takes. Remember Cupid, if you didn't see it, what a shame!!! Anyways, this movie helped me to pull out of the doldums. I wanted to stop being narcisstic and focusing on just me and share postive feelings with others. This movie did a good job at showing this. Connection with others instead of just about yourself and your needs. I could forego the everyday routine of the same thing over and over. I would want difference in my life but with the same members, some adventure. They really didn't show that happening in his alternate life as a family man. Well, the movie has a sparkle and some good acting.
Lisa Nary
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5.0 out of 5 stars "It's A Wonderful Life!" Classic, April 9 2004
By 
Gregory P. Lamanna (Canyon Country, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love dogs and those who don't.
That's the only way to make sense out of why there exists folks who do not absolutely love this movie. I have a Masters in Communications - Cinema (shameless plug, sorry), and this is said only for perspective on my forthcoming comments.
You see, you don't need another review describing the storyline or the incredible performances turned in my Mr. Cage (he was perfection) and his perfectly cast supporting players (Tea Leoni is stunning; Jeremy Piven is a hoot).
What is needed is a statement of why there exists in the world people who may not like this film. And it's for the same reasons they would not like "It's A Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Story" and any other film that requires being VULNERABLE and HONEST to admit that deep down you are broken, hurting, and are truly NOT in control of your universe and you're (maybe) made at God about it.
The honest folks (who love dogs, by the way) simply "get it." The ones who have to survive by never getting in touch with deep emotion and pain inside will, tragically, never experience what is truly important and purposeful and genuine in life.
This is not an indictment of these folks. Just an observation.
Artistically and technically, this is one of the most flawlessly executed films I know of. It rates with director Martin Brest's 1988 "Midnight Run" in terms of the delicate balance of laughter and tears, outlandish scenario made believable, characters so lovable BECAUSE of their vulnerability in admitting they are messed up and need help ... The casting of De Niro opposite Grodin is a masterstroke, and (with the deft hand of Brest) both completely understand their characters "makeup" and interaction.
The same can be said of Cage in 'The Family Man.' It's difficult to think of anyone else being able to capture so peculiarly a dispositioned dude who is caught in a dichotomy of realities. Just perfection. And director Brett Ratner exhibits the same deft understanding of story and character in his handling of this delicate setup. In fact, Ratner's complete understanding of this material is evidenced by his statement (in accompanying interview) that he would accept no one other than Cage to play this role.
He was right.
'The Family Man,' like ALL of the aforementioned films, is timeless, classic, masterful work BECAUSE it is honest enough to deal (cushioned with humor) with the pain that is so deep within all of us, and do so with finely-honed technique.
Dog lovers--UNITE!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really a Ten, March 11 2004
By 
Joseph J. Slevin (Carlsbad, CA United States) - See all my reviews
If I could rate this a ten I would. Nicholas Cage (Jack), a man with a career and no other life is taken on a ride to the other side to get 'just a glimpse' of what life he could have had with Tea Leoni (Kate).
Jack and Kate Campbell are the envy of everyone they know. Jack has to learn to like his environment, he left this girl standing at the airport 13 years before, well, things are different when he wakes up in a house (not his penthouse) on Christmas morning.
From the children he has to their friends, Jack really has a life, less challenging in someways in much more rewarding than the multi-million dollar man that he is in NYC.
He goes from being the selfish man that he is to a renewed man who cares for others. Apparently that is what he was all along, he just needed to see it.
Throughout the movie he continually is pulled between the life he left behind and the life that is just a glimpse. You are wondering throughout whether he will choose this family life or choose to go back to his former self.
Cage does a wonderful job, is very believable and so is the whole cast. He really has some great friends and is loved by everyone in his family role. You are lead to wonder what the producer is trying to tell you. There are lessons throughout this great film, quite a few laughs and more frustrations.
The irony is intense. If you ever wondered what life would have been just if????
Buy the family man and wonder......
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nick Is Funny and Heartwarming. Good Holiday FIlm, Dec 10 2003
The film is a good HOliday treat for the whole family. It is a new twist on the classic film of all time (and my personal favorite of all time) - Frank Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life" starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed.
This one is directed by Brett Ratner (Rush Hour 1 & 2) and tells the tale of a man plaged brilliantly by Nicholas Cage (Ghostriders, Windtalkers, Leaving Las Vegas) - who things he has everything and misses nothing. That invokes intervention by an "angel" played by Don Cheadle (Rush Hour 2, Traffic, Mission To Mars) to show him what he doesn't have and therefore showing him what he is missing.
The new twist is that in his new "life" he learns of love and it amazingly down-to-earth performance by Tea Leoni (Deep Impact, Jurrasic Park III)
The film is warm and friendly and wonderful to watch. The kids and the aprents will find this story very entertaining.
The DVD Extras are really Fun. There is a great gag real of bloopers and the making of the film is very interesting. The commentaries with the director and anopther one with Danny Elfman (Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Big Fish) are charming and insightful.
This is a good one to have in your Holiday Collection. (12-10-03)
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5.0 out of 5 stars A movie every husband should watch!, Oct. 30 2003
By A Customer
"The Family Man" is a Hollywood fantasy that has been done in variation many times in the past. What makes this one so different, in my opinion, is that it speaks to husbands today about what we so easily forget. Wealth, influence, power, sex, adultery, etc.... all the things men fantasize for, are shown for what they really are when slapped in the face by an eye opening "reality". It moved me as a man of 40 to consider how empty all those items of lust really are compared to a faithful wife, the hugs of a child, and the security only found in true friendship with another man. We so easily look past the reality because it seems so ho-hum compared to the fantasies we are bombarded with every day.
In this movie, we see all sides of this from the perspective of Jack Campbell. From Forbes 400 member to bowling league Jersey family man, he experiences two lives. When he realizes how shallow his life has been, he is desperate to keep the ho-hum we all take for granted.
I think women would love this because it is an intensely romantic movie, in the truest sense of the term. I think it would be wise for wives to have their husband watch it with them. After the movie, there will be a lot of opportunity to talk over tough subjects the film raises. It's a movie that can open wounds, but also provides a warm means to healing. It will make a man think, I know. It worked for me, and my wife is glad for it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS, Aug. 24 2003
By A Customer
For years It's A Wonderful Life set the standard not only for Christmas movies but for movies that ask the lingering question: What would life be like had taken this turn...? Capra was the master of the genre and James Stewart was his classic time traveler.
Family Man seems to take up things where Capra left off and Nicholas Cage steps capably into Stewart's shoes.
Don't think that this movie is just for the holidays. Isn't it interesting that all of the very best holiday stories teach lessons that are as applicable on the Fourth of July as they are on Christmas Eve? It's A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, Home Alone and While You Were Sleeping all have overt holiday themes but invite the viewer to live throughout the year as though life mattered and went beyond holidays.
The Family Man is just such a movie. Christmas just happens to be a minor prop in a story about integrity, priorities and love. Buy it today and watch it on Labor Day and then again on your mother-in-law's birthday and again on Halloween and...regardless of the day you'll love it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brillantly protrays the richness of family live, May 12 2003
By 
Golden Lion "Reader" (North Ogden, Ut United States) - See all my reviews
The director does an great job emerging the audience into the character live of Jack Campbell
played by Nicholas Cage. The movie is like a surreal dream where some one you love is not a part of your life, but you get a chance to see what life could have been. The dramatic tension postures Jack Campbell with a girlfriend thirteen year eariler whom in his dream marries. Every day life in suburan America requires Campbell to change diapers, transport school age children, bowl with the company league, and work at a tire dealership. Simple pleasures in life make the movie harm warming, such as, Jack's anniversery amensia, his new green suite, and snow fight with his children. Dreams can only remain a dream with Jack. The message become clear that he has the knowledge to change his immediate "Ground Hog" reality, as he discovers his daughter realizes that he is not their father. Jack manages hitch up with his form boss, pitch him, and return back into big money and the luxories associated with money, such as, expensive dinners at well known restraunts, gorgeously decorated penthouse with fine furnature and art, elborate apparel and clothing, and respect drawn by fear. Life is too perfect and Jack must return to reality which he doesn't want, after discovering the love of a family. The magic is over. This version of Scrouge was so much more than the critics conceded to and deserves more recognition as a great family film. Nicholas Cage and Téa Leoni bring a "down to earth" feeling of the richness of family live, the importance of small rituals, the intimacy of friends, the pains of daily work, and the warmth and comfort of a cozy home. Yet most of us long for the "Good life": expensive materialistic homes, servants to care for every whim, peer prestige and recognition, and ruthless power to control destiny. I found the movie to balance the contrast and provide unique humor and warmth in the film.
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