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The Weather Man

Review Written by: Will Penley
Film: A-
Video/Audio/Extras: A/A/C+

Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Written by: Steve Conrad
Produced by: Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine, Hope Davis, Gemmenne de la Pena, Nicolas Hoult, Gil Bellows, Michael Rispoli
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Rent it

"People don't throw things at me anymore. Maybe because I carry a bow around."

I like many different types of films, but I really have a passion for "character studies." Those films that mostly concern just one character during a crucial time in their lives. A lot of my favorite films fall into this vein, like American Beauty, About Schmidt, and Broken Flowers (wow, yet another mention here) (Editor's Note: Jim Jarmusch should send a letter thanking us for the free publicity). A newcomer in this group is Gore Verbinski's fantastic film, The Weather Man.

Chicago weatherman David Spritz (Nicolas Cage) is miserable. His father, Robert (Michael Caine), sees him as a failure, people throw fast food at him on the streets and his relationship with his neurotic ex-wife (Hope Davis) and his children is practically nonexistent. So, driven by a great job offer in New York, David decides to turn his life around. Of course, problems immediately present themselves. His daughter (Gemmenne de la Pena) is immensely overweight and unhappy and his son (Nicolas Hoult) has an overly intimate relationship with his possibly-homosexual drug counselor (Gil Bellows). He also seeks to finally make his father proud before his lymphoma-induced death. Though some may think the life of a weatherman can't be all bad (hey, he's making six figures a year), they couldn't be more wrong.

The terrific and very well-written screenplay by Steve Conrad and fantastic performances from Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine and Hope Davis as the ex-wife carry this film the whole way through. Verbinski's direction is absolutely top-notch and he has another great film to add to his belt. I really enjoyed this film, but as with other films of this kind, a lot of people might not enjoy it as much. Though I do suggest you try before you buy, I must award the film an "A-."

After buying The Weather Man, I was extremely disappointed with the disc's severe lack of extras. Paramount has seen fit to put a few things on here, but I really would have hoped for a Verbinski/Conrad/Cage commentary or some more substantial featurettes. I guess what we do get will have to do though. Five featurettes have been included and they cover several things like the development of the screenplay, the set design and the characters, plus some interviews with the crew and a real weatherman (WGN's Tom Skilling). Thankfully, Paramount has included the film's original theatrical trailer as the final extra -- maybe they really are learning.

Though it may not be to the tastes of some, I found The Weather Man to be a funny and insightful dramedy and well worth a buy (but you should rent it).

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