Review: The Weather Man
What little authentic tension the movie has to offer arrives when Dave is offered a promotion to a plum position at network headquarters in New York. Will he turn it down to devote quality time to his loved ones, or will he opt for a clean break, and further exacerbate the problems clearly caused by materialistic career choices in the first place? Letâ€™s just say, some creeps never learn
Dave Spritz (Nicolas Cage) is Chicagoâ€™s most popular TV weatherman. Sadly, his cheery on-air persona masks the inner turmoil of an anguished soul adrift in a thoroughly miserable, mid-life malaise. So, fans who spot the catatonic misanthrope on the street are surprised that the real Dave bears so little resemblance to the animated, happy-go-lucky newsman theyâ€™ve come to know onscreen.
This contrast doesnâ€™t discourage some from nagging the somber celeb for an impromptu forecast on the spot or prevent others from participating in a citywide ritual which involves impulsively pelting the beleaguered broadcaster with burgers, burritos, shakes, fries or any other handy fast food from franchise outlets like McDonaldâ€™s, Wendyâ€™s, Arbyâ€™s, KFC, Burger King, 7-11, KFC and Dairy Queen.
However, the insensitive treatment only serves to plunge Dave deeper into despair, as he is already armed with plenty of reasons to be at odds with the world. For despite the fact that he makes a quarter-million dollars a year for a job that barely taxes his brain, he is unhappy about the fragmented state of his rapidly-fragmenting family, each member of which is not only dysfunctional but currently in crisis.
For one, heâ€™s eager to reconcile with his emotionally-unresponsive, ex-wife, Noreen (Hope Davis), before she follows through with her plans to marry the new man (Michael Rispoli) in her life. Second, Dave is just as desperate to win the approval of his terminally-ill father (Michael Caine), a celebrated novelist who has never really appreciated any of what he sees as his sonâ€™s relatively superficial achievements.
Then, thereâ€™s Spritzâ€™s equally- alienated children, 15 year-old Mike, (Nicholas Hoult), and 12 year-old Shelly (Gemmene de la Pena). The boy is in rehab with a very attentive counselor (Gil Bellows) who might be a pedophile, while the foul-mouthed girl is overweight, smoking, dressing inappropriately and suffering from low self-esteem, due to being teased by classmates.
Daveâ€™s efforts to juggle this quartet of strained relationships sits at the center of The Weather Man, an offensive exercise in shock cinema directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean). The movie is narrated in a zombie-like monotone by its protagonist as played by Nicolas Cage. Perhaps, with that deadpan delivery, he was going for a droll sense of the absurd, ala Bill Murray, but what ended up on screen proved to be the opposite of engaging.
Crude at every turn, the film is filled with an incessant array of expletives coming out of the mouth of virtually every character, kids included, as if the directorâ€™s primary purpose, here, is to shock the audience. Plus, there are unnecessarily graphic descriptions of sexuality, plenty of pie-in-the-face slapstick, some gratuitous nudity and ethnic slurs.
What little authentic tension the movie has to offer arrives when Dave is offered a promotion to a plum position at network headquarters in New
York. Will he turn it down to devote quality time to his loved ones, or will he opt for a clean break, and further exacerbate the problems clearly caused by materialistic career choices in the first place? Letâ€™s just say, some creeps never learn.
Gross, morose, and relentlessly depressing, The Weather Man is a gloomy mood piece which would never have been released if the studio had bothered to test market it on focus groups.
Poor (0 stars)
Rated R for female frontal nudity, explicit sexual content, drug references, violence, crude humor, ethnic slurs and free-flowing profanity.
Running time: 101 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures