The Family Man
|The Family Man|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brett Ratner|
|Produced by||Marc Abraham
|Written by||David Diamond
|Music by||Danny Elfman|
|Edited by||Mark Helfrich|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
The Family Man is a 2000 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Brett Ratner and starring Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni. Cage's production company, Saturn Films, helped produce the film. The film centers on a man, who sees what could have been had he made a different decision 13 years prior.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (October 2015)|
Jack Campbell is a single, wealthy Wall Street executive living the high life in New York City. He is in the midst of putting together a multi-billion dollar merger and has ordered an emergency meeting on Christmas Day to ensure its success. The concept of family life clearly has little or no meaning for him. In his office, on Christmas Eve, he is surprised to hear that his former girlfriend, Kate, tried to call him after many years. After reminiscing a bit, he walks into a convenience store where a lottery contestant, Cash, barges in saying that he has a winning ticket worth $238. The store clerk believes that Cash is lying and refuses to give him his winnings. Cash pulls out a gun and is about to shoot the clerk before Jack offers to buy the ticket from him for $200, thus averting disaster. Jack and Cash settle their business deal outside. Jack offers to help Cash. In return, Cash questions Jack, asking him if he is missing anything in his life. Jack assures him he has everything he needs. The two part company, but not before Cash cryptically tells Jack that actions have consequence and that Jack has brought whatever is coming on himself. Jack returns to his penthouse and sleeps away the night alone.
The next morning, on Christmas Day, Jack wakes up in a suburban New Jersey bedroom with Kate and two children. Shocked and confused, he hurries back to his office and condo in New York, but not even his closest friends recognize him. Confused, Jack runs out to the street and encounters Cash, who is now driving Jack's Ferrari. Cash explains that Jack is experiencing a glimpse of an alternate universe in order to learn a lesson. The crux of the lesson is unknown and is personal to Jack's life. He advises Jack to take the time to learn whatever it is that he needs to learn.
Jack realizes that he is living the life he could have had if he had not gone to London to study and become an investment banker but had stayed in the United States with his girlfriend at the time. He instead has a modest family life, where he is a car tire salesman and Kate is a non-profit lawyer. Very soon, Jack's young daughter realizes his secret, thinks he is an alien and decides to assist him in surviving his new life. Jack struggles to fit into the role of a family man, making many serious blunders such as missing opening Christmas presents, flirting with a married woman, and forgetting his anniversary. He begins to succeed in his life, bonding with his children, falling in love with his wife, and working hard at his dull job.
As a consequence of a chance meeting, he suddenly finds himself being offered a contract to work at the very same investment firm from his real life, having impressed the Chairman of the firm with his business savvy when he came in for a tire change. His old mentor once again gladly offers him a job, while a formerly sycophantic employee is instead in Jack's old position, with an assertiveness he did not possess as a subordinate. While he is wowed by the potential salary and other complimentary extreme luxuries, Kate argues that they are very happy where they are and that they should be thankful for the life they have.
Just as Jack is finally realizing the true value of his new life, he sees Cash again (now a store clerk) and demands to stay in this life, but, though sorrowful of Jack's situation, Cash informs him that there is nothing he can do. So, his epiphany jolts him back to his wealthy—yet as he now realizes, lonely and unfulfilled—former life on Christmas Day. In desperation, he forgoes closing his $130 billion pharmaceutical acquisition deal to intercept Kate, who had left the message the day before. He finds her moving out of a luxury townhouse. Like Jack, she also focused on her career and became a very wealthy corporate lawyer. Furthermore, she had only called him to give back some of his old possessions. Before she moves to Paris, he runs after her at the airport and describes the family they had in the alternate universe in an effort to win back her love. Shocked but intrigued, she agrees to have a cup of coffee at the airport, suggesting that they will have a future after all.
- Nicolas Cage as Jack Campbell
- Téa Leoni as Kate Reynolds / Kate Campbell
- Don Cheadle as Cash
- Makenzie Vega as Annie Campbell
- Jake & Ryan Milkovich as Josh Campbell
- Jeremy Piven as Arnie
- Lisa Thornhill as Evelyn Thompson
- Saul Rubinek as Alan Mintz
- Josef Sommer as Peter Lassiter
- Harve Presnell as Ed Reynolds
- Mary Beth Hurt as Adelle
- Francine York as Lorraine Reynolds
- Amber Valletta as Paula
- Ken Leung as Sam Wong
- Kate Walsh as Jeannie
As of 2012, Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 53% based on 127 reviews with 67 fresh and 60 rotten. The site's consensus is "Despite good performances by Cage and especially by Leoni, The Family Man is too predictable and derivative to add anything new to the Christmas genre. Also, it sinks under its sentimentality". Chris Gore from Film Threat said: "If you're looking for a heartfelt, feel-good holiday movie, just give in and enjoy". Matthew Turner from ViewLondon said: "Perfect feel-good Christmas-period family entertainment. Highly recommended."
Metacritic gave the film a rating of 42 out of 100 based on 28 reviews. Common Sense Media and Redbox both rate it 4 out of 5 stars. Movie guide.org rates it four of four stars, noting "The Family Man is a heart-rending movie. Very well written, it makes you laugh and cry. Better yet, it’s an intentionally moral movie. It wants to prove that everyone needs love..."
The film opened at #3 at the North American box office making $15.1 million USD in its opening weekend, behind What Women Want and Cast Away, which opened at the top spot. In the second weekend it grossed $12,771,990 and $16,746,030 in the third. After 15 weeks in release, it grossed $75,793,305 in the US and Canada and $48,951,778 elsewhere, bringing the film's total gross to $124,745,083.
- "Rotten Tomatoes". 22 December 2000.
- "The Family Man Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
- "The Family Man (2000) - Weekend Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo".
- Official website
- The Family Man at the Internet Movie Database
- The Family Man at AllMovie
- The Family Man at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Family Man at Metacritic
- The Family Man at Box Office Mojo