Laugh a lot. Be depressed. That seems to be the theme of "The Weather Man," a consistently dreary film about a man who just never has much good going for him, but that also happens to be pretty funny. Go figure.
Nicolas Cage stars as the title character, a weather man named David Spritz who lives alone in Chicago and is constantly trying to get back together with his ex-wife (Hope Davis) to improve his children's lives, even though he always messes things up and ends up being an asshole. His career is perfect proof that money does not buy you happiness - his 2-hour-a-day job forces him to smile on camera and has him depressed the rest of the time as he acknowledges that his 12-year old daughter not only is overweight but smokes, his teenage son has just returned from rehab and is trying to stay out of trouble and that his dad (Michael Caine) is dying. And yes, this is a comedy. Sort of.
If you like laughing at other people's pain like I do, then "The Weather Man" is for you. Director Gore Verbinski rarely uses a bright shot in the entire film; set in the Chicago winter, everything seems to be shades of blue and gray. The result is a depressing yet entertaining mix of comedy and drama that capitalizes on a man's misfortunes but also shows that sometimes all you can do is laugh. After all, even when things aren't going your way, funny things happen.
The movie does lose its edge a bit toward the end as the comedy becomes sparser and the movie becomes no less drearier. Still, "The Weather Man" has many laugh-out-loud scenes, and if you like Nic Cage in these kinds of roles like I do, then it's a must-see. Cage, while not exactly much different than he has been in several other movies, does a good job. Michael Caine is also good in a very subtle and off-beat way, though for as smart of a man as he is supposed to be in this film, his character seemed rather naive at times (and at other times not so naive). Camel toe, anyone?
"The Weather Man" is a funny comedy-drama, but if you're someone who gets depressed easily, bring an extra capsule of Prozac. Verbinski has successfully created a balance of somberness and entertainment, which is a weird mix to say the least. It doesn't always hit its mark, but comes close to being a terrific film.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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