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Movie Review

Jack Campbell is a successful Wall Street trader accustomed to life's "finer" things. Designer clothes. Gourmet dining. Willing women. Prestige. Power. Jack has it all ... or does he?

After calmly thwarting a robbery on Christmas eve, Jack gets a surreal reward—the chance to see what life would’ve been like had he married his college sweetheart and become The Family Man . Jack wakes up Christmas morning in suburban New Jersey beside his wife, Kate, and is playfully assaulted by a rambunctious 3-year-old who calls him "Daddy." He panics. It seems none of his city friends recognize him, yet strangers in Teaneck treat him as one of their own.

Some very funny scenes involve a jaded Jack reluctantly playing the part of a domesticated male. Walking dogs. Changing babies. Selling tires retail! But just as he begins to enjoy the routine and the people in it, he must return to the life he chose, which now feels empty by comparison. Imagine Capra with a twist: It Could've Been a Wonderful Life.

And this could've been a wonderful family film if not for profanity, sexual situations, alcohol use and fairly explicit nudity. That’s a shame because, like a holiday cordial, The Family Man has a sweet center. A balm for macho mid-life crisis, it makes strong statements in favor of personal integrity, the value of family and the foolishness of infidelity. It also romanticizes the idea of couples growing old together. If only the movie’s delightful themes weren’t unequally yoked with disappointing moments.

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Nicolas Cage, Téa Leoni, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Piven, Amber Valletta


Brett Ratner ( )


Universal Pictures



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Bob Smithouser

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