The Weather Man (15)
Time Out says
Mon Feb 27 2006Is maestro Gore Verbinski worried we’re not taking him seriously enough? Having made his pile with the mega-hit ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, now he gets all self-consciously arty with this serio-comic portrait of a fortysomething male in a tail-spin because he’s fabulously over-paid for his undemanding job. Hey, we should all have such problems, but Nicolas Cage works wonders in balancing sad-eyed gloom with self-abasing humour as a Chicago TV weather man (he doesn’t do the forecasting, just waves his arms in front of the autocue) mired in depression as he edges closer to an even heftier payday on a national breakfast slot. It’s all a veritable acme of superficiality beside the Pulitzer-winning achievements of his ailing novelist father (Michael Caine). Meanwhile, his estranged spouse is remarrying, his teenage son has drugs problems, and his younger daughter’s morosely overweight.
Unsurprisingly, the film’s marketing is playing up the laughter angle (chortle as passers-by repeatedly throw food at that wanker from the telly!), but basically this is an extended love-me-love-me bleat, the exaggerated contrivances of which merely obscure whatever uncomfortable truths might lie beneath. Perhaps an Alexander Payne could have made something of it, but only by planing off the accumulated layers of caricature to get at the quiet desperation inside. Still, credit’s due here, a nod for the semblance of ambition in even broaching some fairly fundamental issues, while Cage is remarkably game in the circumstances and Caine, as ever, is a model of unforced accomplishment. And its central question is truly one for our times: if you’re aware of your own shallowness, does that mean you’re still shallow?
Author: Trevor Johnston
Fri Mar 3, 2006