The Family Man (2000)

The Family Man (2000)





125 mins






What If?

Don't screw up the best thing in your life just because you're a little unsure about who you are - Arnie

Nicolas Cage and Don Cheadle in The Family Man (2000)

Have you ever woken up wondering "What If?", "What if I hadn't taken that job?", "What if I hadn't split with my first true love?", "What if I had studied harder?" the possibilities are endless and "What If?" is a very popular theme when it comes to movies. Probably the most famous "What If" movie has to be "It's a Wonderful Life", but one which like its famous predecessor revolves around the Christmas period is "The Family Man". Released in 2000 and starring Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni "The Family Man" is in many ways similar to "It's a Wonderful Life" but then adds its own twist on proceedings, updating the storyline to a modern setting and making it just different enough to not feel to copycat.

Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage - 8mm) is a career-driven workaholic who has everything: a well paid job, a flashy car, a wardrobe of designer clothes and the attention of any woman his money can buy. But his life changes when, after finishing work on Christmas Eve, he stops an argument in a convenience store and ends up in a conversation about life with the trouble maker Cash (Don Cheadle - Out of Sight). When Jack wakes up the next day, he's suddenly living in a New Jersey suburb, where he's married to his college sweetheart Kate (Tea Leoni - Deep Impact) and is a father of two children, confusing or what?

Tea Leoni as Kate in The Family Man (2000)

So that is the basis of "The Family Man" and you wouldn't be wrong to be making comparisons between this and the classic "It's a Wonderful Life" as it borrows heavily from its classic predecessor, but adds to it with its own twist as it adapts it into a modern setting. But it still uses the classic "What If" scenario as the basis of the plot, where as "It's a Wonderful Life" looks at what would have happened if the lead character hadn't been around "The Family Man" looks at it from what life would be like if Jack hadn't made a particular decision.

Although the storyline is not the most original, and has been reworked many times by various other movies, "The Family Man" does make a good stab at being an enjoyable and interesting movie. Most of this can be put down to the performances of Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni who both keep you entertained with plenty of humour. But there are some wonderful sentimental scenes where Jack begins to understand that there is more to life than making money, luxurious living and caring only for himself. Talking of sentiment, "The Family Man" could easily have over cooked it, and become a mush fest but after a couple of close calls, it remained strong.

What this all boils down to is that although "The Family Man" may not become a classic in the same manner as "It's a Wonderful Life", it is still a very good take on the "What If" question set against a modern back drop. There are all round good performances from its cast and it moves along at a reasonable pace. Fans of Nicolas Cage will of course enjoy this, but it will also appeal to fans of easy to watch movies and Christmas comedies.

Tags: Christmas Movies

Movie Recommendations

The Christmas Clause

The Christmas Clause (2008)

With Christmas coming mum of three Sophie (Lea Thompson - Dennis) is stress ...


Eve's Christmas (2004)

Christmas is coming and advertising executive Even Simon (Elisa Donovan) fi ...


Holidaze (2013)

Melody Gerard (Jennie Garth) is a big city executive who works for Save Now ...

The Twelve Days of Christmas Eve

The Twelve Days of Christmas Eve (2004)

It's Christmas Eve and Calvin Carter (Steven Weber - Love Letters) is excit ...

12 Dates of Christmas

12 Dates of Christmas (2011)

Whilst Kate Stanton (Amy Smart) may have split up with her ex boyfriend Jac ...

If You Believe

If You Believe (1999)

Suzie Stone use to love Christmas but over the years her love has been chip ...

A Fare to Remember

A Fare to Remember (1999)

It's Christmas Eve and Tamara Gault (Challen Cates) is meant to be getting ...

A Song for the Season

A Song for the Season (1999)

Ever since his sister died Cal (Gerald McRaney) has looked after his teenag ...

One Special Night

One Special Night (1999)

Having gone to visit his ailing wife at the hospice on Thanksgiving Robert ...

The Christmas Wish

The Christmas Wish (1998)

Following the death of his Grandpa, Will Martin (Neil Patrick Harris - Star ...

Angel in the Family

Angel in the Family (2004)

Sometime after his wife passed away Buddy Brice (Ronny Cox) is living with ...

Undercover Christmas

Undercover Christmas (2003)

Having arrested Scott Shift (Cameron Bancroft) and his family for conning o ...

Naughty or Nice

Naughty or Nice (2004)

Henry Ramiro (George Lopez - The Spy Next Door) makes a living by being mea ...

Recipe for a Perfect Christmas

Recipe for a Perfect Christmas (2005)

In "Recipe for a Perfect Christmas" J.J. Jenner (Carly Pope) finds herself ...

A Perfect Day

A Perfect Day (2006)

Having been made redundant from his marketing Job, family man Rob Harlan (R ...

Follow The Movie Scene

Follow The Movie Scene on Twitter Like The Movie Scene on facebook Join The Movie Scene on Gplus Subscribe to The Movie Scene's RSS