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Guest Movie Review: The Family Man

Story: As the LOBO New Category Movie Contest winners deadline draws near (Feb. 12), I was pleasantly surprised to find another contest winner's review in my e-mail this morning. For those of you new to the LOBO list, I periodically run contests and the winners get to write guest reviews. The next contest will of course be the now famous E-Ballot Oscar contest. for I have been out of town (another LOBO rule is NOT to go to a movie when out of town unless acts of nature force one indoors - for instance - if you are on an airplane - although sometimes, one does want to jump out of the plane from the movie selections on flights - but that's a different tirade for another day). Anyway, Mindi is the contest winner who has given us the Movie or Rental LOBO category and I thank her for that as I have been having great fun thinking of movies to write about in this new category. And so...

This what if film shows a glimpse of what life would have been if different choices were made. Jack Campbell is a high-powered New York City bachelor who has everything he could have ever dreamed (or so he thinks). A mishap in a convenient story on Christmas Eve transforms his life overnight to the life he would have led if he married his college sweetheart. He learns lessons in love, relationships, and finds himself humbled through the day-to-day activities of family life.

Acting: Nicholas Cage does a fine job in playing Jack Campbell, the cutthroat business man. Although I absolutely adore Nick, I'm not sure why a fantastic actor like him agrees to roles that limit him to fine.Think back to some of his more versatile roles:Leaving Las Vegas, Moonstruck, Raising Arizona, and of course, my favorite, Valley Girl. With his potential, I can only guess that he takes on these movies to build his bank account, which is now in jeopardy of being split with Patricia Arquette (rumor has it they are on shaky ground). Tea Leoni plays Jack's college sweetheart, Kate Reynolds. I usually do not care for her, but by the end of the film, I actually liked her. The only other person worth mentioning is Makenzie Vega. She plays Jack and Kate's daughter, Annie, and is exceptionally cute, while teaching Jack a few lessons.

Critters: A few dogs, always stereotypical of the scene, i.e., little shitzu dog for the old, rich woman living in Jack's NYC apartment building, and a big lab-like dog in Jack's suburban home.

Food: Lots and lots of alcohol, some finger food at a house party, and a food fight with a slice of chocolate cake (possibly the turning point of the film).

Visual Art: Again, stereotypical city vs. suburbs with high-class art in his penthouse and children's drawings in the suburbs.

Blatant Product Placement: Diet Coke in a big way! They even discussed Diet Coke in dialogue.

Soundtrack: Not memorable.

Opening Titles: Basic titles shown as Jack sings along to the opera in his NYC penthouse.

Theater Audience: Well, I must tell you that we tried to see Save the Last Dance first, but it was sold out. When we walked into this movie, we understood why. There are only FIVE ROWS in each theater! So although we were in the middle of the theater, we were in the 3rd row! (Note: keep in mind that I live in Lake Tahoe and this is what I have to work with!) The two rows behind us were filled with 40+ couples.AND...can I say something about theater etiquette? Why do people choose to sit right next to you when there is room to put space between strangers with an empty seat? HMM? Can anyone explain this one to me, because my counterpart (who is a JudyLobo reader) and I were completely annoyed by the randoms who continually tried to sit next to us. I was able to fight them off with my coat, but, unfortunately, my friend (who was focused on popcorn consumption) was caught off-guard by the invasion of two people who blatantly ignored the personal space rule (and they brought an aroma with them)! Please be sensitive to other movie-goers' experiences the next time you choose a seat.

Sappy Factor: 7 (this started low and steadily rose.)

Tissue Usage: 2

Oscar Worthy: No

Nit Picking: In case you haven't noticed, I was slightly annoyed by the typical portrayal of the city vs. the suburbs.

Big Screen or Rental: Rental, and enjoy some of the above mentioned movies with it - possibly throwing in Peggy Sue Got Married.

Length: Under 2 hours

LOBO HOWLS: 7 (I was pleasantly surprised this movie was bearable, so my rating may seem generous.)