The world of network news has been explored in movies, like “Network,” or “Up Close and Personal,” but weathermen always seem to be lost in the rush. However, in Paramount Pictures’ new film “The Weather Man,” directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean), the often forgotten and unrecognized weatherman is finally given his due.
David Spritz (Nicolas Cage) is a successful weatherman for a well-known Chicago television news network. With a job offer from a popular national morning show, his professional career is on the way up. Yet, his personal life is rapidly spiraling into the toilet. He has recently separated from his wife Noreen (Hope Davis, “Proof”). Meanwhile, his two young children Mike (Nicholas Hoult, “About a Boy”) and Shelly (Gemmenne de la Pe?a, “Erin Brockovich”) are going through some serious growing pains. To make matters worse, his Pulitzer Prize-winning father Robert (Sir. Michael Caine) is diagnosed with lymphoma. David must juggle these life-changing events in his personal life, while weighing them against his budding career prospects. Keep your eye out for on-again, off-again television anchor Bryant Gumble in a cameo.
At many times during the movie, Nicolas Cage’s acting, like the weather, is unpredictable. Sometimes he appears to be in the middle of a mid-life crisis, while other times he is just being a big kid; however, most of the time he seems to be focused solely on winning his father’s approval. This makes it somewhat difficult to understand his character’s actions as the film progresses. Cage is at his peak in the numerous voiceovers that occur throughout the film, where he is able to ramble for amazingly long periods of time through a wide variety of material, all the while managing to not confuse his audience.
Sir. Michael Caine truly shines in this film with his subtle, underplayed performance, almost carrying the film on his shoulders during some scenes. His versatility in the areas of comedy and drama is stunningly apparent throughout the film. Fifteen-year-old Nicholas Hoult, who many may recognize from his role in “About a Boy,” also gives a strong performance throughout the movie, despite the lack of artistic development and relatively unexplained characters that plague his story line. With the exception of Nicolas Cage and Sir. Michael Caine, many of the actors in this film are newcomers in Hollywood, but the acting is still very strong and is by far the finest aspect of the film.
If you are looking for a traditional date movie this weekend, this isn’t it. While the film has many comedic and often quirky moments, Cage is hit with everything from a Big Gulp to a soft taco. It is a dark comedy, with many potent dramatic elements involving David’s children and his father’s progressing illness. With this wide variety of material, Verbinski is able to weave a well-rounded, intelligent film about death, divorce and a truly memorable insight about life.
“The Weather Man” storms into theaters on October 28th.
This article appeared in the October 27, 2005 issue of the Hatchet.