Forecast: Gloomy

Columbus Alive | October 27, 2005
With successful genre films such as The Ring and Pirates of the Caribbean under his belt, director Gore Verbinski moves into the edgy, angst-ridden territory of Sam Mendes’ American Beauty and Alexander Payne’s About Schmidt and Sideways.

At least that’s what he’s going for, and he does deliver a central character of questionable likeability. But he otherwise ends up with something closer to James L. Brooks’ Spanglish. Both films feature men having qualms about success and parenting skills, as well as a shrewish female lead.

Nicholas Cage is David Spritz, a weatherman for a Chicago news show, but not a meteorologist, as he is painfully aware. Separated from his hostile wife Noreen (Hope Davis) and at a distance from his overweight daughter Shelly (Gemmenne de la Peña) and recent rehab graduate son Mike (Nicholas Hoult), David is driven to clean up his act when he finds out that his father Robert (Michael Caine), an award-winning author, has terminal cancer. He sees Robert’s impending death as a deadline to fix everything dissatisfying in his life, but his qualms about the superficiality of his life and his powder-keg temper subvert every attempt David makes to change.

Like Spanglish, The Weather Man suffers from a palpable artificiality in its attempts to tackle real-life neuroses. Steve Conrad’s script has occasional moments of humor, but not enough to create a warming effect around his central character. And Verbinski, who can be visually daring but is usually dramatically safe, is a poor fit for the material.

Someone recognized the edgy cred of having Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger” on the soundtrack and placed it over all the film’s TV advertising, but in the film itself, it’s background music during a trip to the mall.

Columbus Alive

Founded in 1983, Alive is the Capital City's oldest and only independent alternative and is known for providing a forum for the area's free thinkers. The paper's spirited and original perspective on music, arts and culture distinguish it from the...
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