271 – The Weather Man

Caught The Weather Man, starring Nicholas Cage and Michael Caine. You know how once upon a time the subtitle of this place was “I watch them so you don’t have to?” It was thought up for movies just like this one – the ones that look somewhat promising on the outside, with an interesting cast and premise, but turn out to be utterly unwatchable.

I’ll save you some time. Cage is a local put-upon weatherman who shares custody of his two kids with his cute-blonde wife (Hope Davis), who’s now seeing another guy. The kids are doing so hot – twelve-year-old-daughter Shelly is overweight and smokes; older brother Mike’s in rehab. Yep, a real Norman Rockwell family, these people. Toss in crotchety Michael Caine as Cage’s old man, and you have a recipe for dysfunction.

But it’s not funny dysfunction, and it’s not good drama, either. At first, I thought we were supposed to sympathize with Dave (Cage). There’s a running gag about how people throw fast food at him, and Cage naturally has that sad-sack look about him, anyway. But it quickly became apparent that Dave wasn’t really all that sympathetic – he was an ass to be around, treating those around him with an odd mix of disdain and suspcion.

I thought maybe we were supposed to feel bad for the kids, except they’re positioned as selfish brats. Well, Shelly much more than Mike, who seems an eternal victim/nice guy. Dave, in an attempt to connect with his daughter – and help her lose weight by giving her a positive hobby – helps her to learn how to shoot a bow an arrow, but this self-absorbed, petulant brat can’t appreciate his effort.

The plot thread surrounding all of this familial woe is Dave’s possible new job as the weatherdoofus on a national morning program (Bryant Gumbel plays himself; perhaps it was to be set in the 1980s?). Should he take the job and move his family? Or not? You know what, who cares? I stopped giving a rat’s ass about these people about five minutes into the film. Drive ’em all off a cliff, I wouldn’t shed a tear.

Caine lends much more dignity to the movie than it deserves, and Davis is excellent in her few scenes. Cage, who can be quite good, glumly sleepwalks through the role.

There, I just saved you the effort. This is why you need to pay attention to me!

The Weather Man: *

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