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The Weather Man - Preview

The Weather Man

Preview by Jack Foley

GORE Verbinski has taken time out from his swashbuckling Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy to deliver a heart-warming family tale starring Nicolas Cage and Sir Michael Caine.

The Weather Man finds Cage as Chicago-based weather man Dave Spritz, a divorced father of two who has a habit of being showered in soft drinks or milkshakes by disgruntled residents tired of hearing bad forecasts.

A way out comes in the form of a lucrative new job offer but the news isn’t greeted favourably by his sick, Pullitzer-prize winning father (Caine), or his soon to be re-married ex-wife (Hope Davis).

Redemption does eventually come but the fun is intended to come from watching Cage work things out as well as improve the way he views himself personally – part of which is achieved through archery.

For Verbinski, who also helmed the big-budget Ring remake, the change of pace was a welcome thing.

He told Entertainment Weekly in their winter preview: “I just wanted to turn down the amplitude and do a film that dealt with characters on a more human level.”

Steven Conrad’s quirky script – his second screenplay in over a decade – provided just what Verbinksi was looking for.

As for the archery that Cage’s character takes up, he added: “He [Cage] was actually getting too good at it. When we filmed the scenes where he was learning how to shoot we had to intentionally make it look like he didn’t know what he was doing.”

The film is due to open in UK cinemas next year.

US reaction

The Weather Man received a variable forecast from critics in America.

Some warmed to its kooky charms while others gave it a frosty reception.

Leading this round-up is the San Francisco Chronicle, which falls into the favourable camp. It wrote: “The film has a lot of rough edges. But it works as an intriguingly offbeat character study while offering Nicolas Cage a chance to show why he used to be considered one of the top actors of his generation.”

The Washington Post, meanwhile, concluded: “What makes this so emotionally compelling is the way Dave scrambles from this deep vale of cluelessness to something approaching moral maturity.”

While the Dallas Morning News added: “The film has the insistent persona of an ambitious college student who desperately expects an A but must settle for a lesser letter. Nevertheless, a fine cast guarantees good moments.”

Falling into the negative camp, however, was Entertainment Weekly, which opined: “The Weather Man is what indie misery looks like when re-created by one of Hollywood’s big studios.”

And the New York Post which wrote: “A vague hint at spiritual rebirth in the closing seconds does nothing to wash away the acid taste of this character, and he’s all there is to the movie.”

Or, indeed, Newsday which stated: “Unlike the arrows Dave uses for his archery hobby, the movie never quite hits whatever target it’s aiming for.”

Back to the positives, however (because we think this looks good) and USA Today, which wrote: “This is one glum outing, with occasional pings of wry wit and hearty chuckles.”

And the Chicago Sun-Times, which stated: “This film has moments of uncommon observation and touching insight.”

The final word goes to LA Weekly, which concluded: “In a radical departure from the Hollywood norm, the movie doesn’t set out to redeem him. If anything, it’s a movie about Spritz coming to embrace his own mediocrity.”