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The Weather Man (R)

Release Date: October 28th, 2005 by Paramount Pictures.
The Cast: Nicholas Cage, Michael Caine, Hope Davis, Gemmenne de la Peņa, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Rispoli, Gil Bellows.
Directed by Gore Verbinski.

BASIC PREMISE: Chicago weatherman Dave Spritz (Cage) goes through a midlife crisis as he tries to balance his job with everything else in his life including his father (Cain), his ex-wife (Davis) and kids (Hoult and de la Peņa).

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Nicholas Cage finds just the right balance between being serious and being funny as Dave Spritz. Dave struggles to control his life from going into total chaos. Noreen, his ex-wife, has found a boyfriend and has simply given up on him because he's too self-centered. Some of the viewers who watch him report the weather like him, while others dislike him. In a few hilarious scenes, they pelt him with drinks and food--just fast food, though. The plot gets more complicated when he tries to bond with his kids. His 15 year-old son Mike, played by Nicholas Hoult from About a Boy, had a drug habit and was molested by his counselor. Sheena, his 12 year-old obese daughter, is being picked on in school. Michael Caine gives an emotionally strong performance as Robert, his dying father who mentally supports him during his mid-life crisis. The well-written script is filled with true-to-life moments, offbeat humor, and, above all, real characters--not caricatures. The Third Act is slightly contrived and awkward, such as a scene when Dave punches another character and almost kills another with his bow and arrow. The effective musical score along with the exquisite cinematography make this a stylish, expertly-crafted film.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Midlife crises are certainly not easy. Everyone has a different reaction when they face reality. Dave has enough money and fame, yet he still feels like he's missing something in his life: he needs more substance. It's very inspiring to watch him try to improve his life by getting to know his children more. He realizes that in order to get his life back on track, he must put an effort to change from being a self-centered person to a warm, caring and loving one.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A slightly contrived Third Act.


THE BOTTOM LINE: Great performances by Cage and Caine, a true-to-life, funny, insightful script, as well as great cinematography make for a complex yet very absorbing film.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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