The Weather Man

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The Weather Man
Review (8/10)
(By Dina Carkonen)

The Weather Man stars Nic Cage as Dave Spritz, the local weather man trying his best to be a credible friend in the homes of every Chicagoan. He is the perfect weather man, always ready to roll with this awesome snap-on weather man hair. It seriously rocks. It has personality, a sweet side-part and the perfect Dennis the Menace meets Demi Moore in Ghost combo. Most women would kill for volume like that. He is a divorced father of 2 trying desperately to be a cool dad, and gain credibility with his ex-wife Noreen (Hope Davis), who basically thinks he is a moron. His father (Michael Caine) doesn't think much of his profession, and is generally disappointed in Dave's lifestyle. He has huge expectations that Dave can't seem to live up to, and is constantly disappointed in him. As the daily weather man, he is depended upon by so many fans to help determine just what shoes to put on in the morning, and whether or not rain will come to ruin straightened hair in seconds. But there are a few not so loving viewers. Poor Dave gets the beat-down by a variety of fast-food items tossed out of moving cars by belittling punks. Are they pissed off and blaming Dave for the weather? Nah. They just want to see some real emotion from Guy Smiley on Channel 6 who doesn't seem to lose that annoying thumbs-up, heel-click, double-guns kind of cheer, rain or shine. I have to admit...I might toss a couple of old chicken nuggets at Regis for the same reason if he was walking down the street. In any case, this guy does care. He still gets up everyday and stands in front of that green screen to deliver what those viewers want to see. He cares about his kids, and the well-being of his ex-wife. He takes every opportunity to involve himself in family matters, so he can attempt to maintain the slight amount of seniority he is quickly losing to Noreen's new George-from-Seinfeld looking boyfriend. Even though his family may not notice, he does a good enough job at work to be looked at by "Hello America" in NYC for an audition. (Here comes Bryant Gumbel's big on-screen debut. Nice cameo, Bry.) Anyway, you want this dude to pull through. So while the people of Chicago pay close attention to him every morning, he is constantly getting shot down by the people he wants to impress the most.

Considering weather is a major character in this movie, Chicago is the place to be. And it looks cold, and gray, and wet. His ex-wife and kids live in a nice, pretty brick house, and he often drops them off and sits in his car across the street, remembering what his life was like with his family all tucked into bed and happily together. Well, not that happily. We get to see a flashback of their married days when he forgets to pick up some tartar sauce one time. Big 'effin deal, right? Isn't that like a guy's responsibility anyway? Not to actually remember everything their wife asks them to do? Well, frankly, I'd be pissed off too if I was starving and there was a huge bag of fish and chips and my lame husband forgot the damn tartar. This argument pretty much explains the whole relationship. But despite this type of head-butting (or do some guys call that just your standard nagging?) he thinks he can be a better guy, a better husband, a better son. He knows he has contributed his fair share to some shitty times, but wants another chance. He hopes at one point that maybe he and his wife could get back together? They attempt couples counseling, but Dave can't seem to keep up his end of the bargain when they are in the therapy circle and engage in a trust exercise. This involves exchanging notes that state what they dislike about each other, but they are not supposed to ever read them. He runs into the bathroom and immediately reads it. Who the hell wouldn't? Come on, be honest... But this incident confirms exactly why Noreen knows - it would never work again. He is just too immature, and can't even handle the smallest sense of responsibility. Whining chicks are awesome, aren't they? Go buy your own frickin' tartar.

You really begin to attach yourself to Dave, and hope he pulls through when you see his relationship with his kids...who, by the way, are great actors in this film. His compassion for his kids is his most redeeming quality. They know he's a bit of a flake, but they love him. And they look up to him in a lot of ways. His daughter Shelley is going through some classic middle school issues, including enduring the nickname cameltoe. She thinks they call her that because she is tough. Sure, honey, that's it. She is affected by her parents divorce, and seems a little numb because they are so pre-occupied with arguing. So, we see her smoke a cig with her friend in the park - what any 12 year does to blow off a little steam. When life sucks, grab a 40 and light up at the playground. She's frustrated and confused, and Dave thinks it's a good bonding experience (and probably, in the long run, cheaper than smoking) to take up a new sport. So she picks archery. Classic. He buys her a package of lessons, and of course, she is over it after the 1st one. He does succeed when he takes her shopping in an attempt to inadvertently dissolve the whole cameltoe nickname thing. She loves all her new clothes, and while we get to see how much good he is doing, his ex-wife Noreen and stuffy-ass father only once again find some way to criticize him. His son has a counselor that invites him to dinner and then attempts to get a little too close for comfort. Dave Spritz steps in and seriously takes care of business. The manly, beef-cake way. That is the kind of justice we get to see for this his character. He gets to be a hero in many ways, despite what his hoity-toity prize-winning novelist father thinks. He is dealing with all the tumultuous bumps in the road, but he isn't weak and he gets the chance to prove himself when saving his kids from some of the harsh experiences of adolescence.

I really liked this movie. If you are not a huge Nicolas Cage fan, this may be just another venue for his often soggy, monotonous tone. He can be a bit gray and droning at times. And if you only like him in movies where he is belligerent, don't worry...there is a nice shot of him pounding a mini-bar size bottle in a hotel room. Ahh, the Nic we know and love. The combo of dramatic life lessons and humor is definitely a reason to give it a shot, though. Hey, it just may inspire you to try some archery out for yourself. Or to try smoking on a playground, for that matter. Plus, the fact that Dave ends up mastering archery is pretty cool. About as cool as watching any weather man/newscaster get aggression out with a bow and arrow. The screenwriter Steve Conrad is a genius. The writing is hilarious. I mean, anytime you can throw the term cameltoe out there, why wouldn't you? And if you don't know what that is, just check out any woman who decides it is cool to run errands in tight workout pants. It has some real-life family issues that most everyone can relate to, with plenty o' wit and dry humor. If the creative title doesn't suck you off the couch to see this movie, go for no other reason than to check out the illustrative cameltoe pics. ouch.

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