Family Man

Year: 2000
Director: Brett Ratner
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Tea Leoni, Don Cheadle
Hollywood's love affair with the fantasy concept of waking up in another life continues in this honest, emotional movie. If it was really possible, this film is done with enough reality to make you think it would be like this.

Although it is still part of the Hollywood propaganda machine warning against any independence or following your dreams if they don't concern Disney-approved suburban families and hordes of snot nosed brats. It's supposed to be uncomfortable to see Jack Campbell (Cage) portrayed as a cold hearted loser unhappy on the inside because he's rich, lives alone in a New York penthouse and has beautiful girlfriends who come and go. It's part of the American popular cultural effort to follow accepted norms - get married, have children, be white, etc.

Social politics aside, it is effective as Jack wakes up one day sleeping next to the woman he gave up on to follow his career years before (Leoni), now his wife and mother to his two children in the chaotic suburban house they all share.

Stumbling through the next few weeks trying to work out what's happened to him, Jack discovers that this glimpse of what his life could have been is what he wanted, and when he has to give it back and be the single rich guy again, he realises how happy he could have been.

The ending is a bit tacked on and doesn't really prove a point except that he decides to track down and pursue his un-wife after all - it's more an excuse for a happy ending than anything. But it's all sweet, well presented and performed, and as maturely true to life as it can be.

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