'The Family Man' Poses a Glib Dilemma

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'The Family Man' Poses a Glib Dilemma

Which one would you prefer, the life of a hotshot Wall Street businessman who has everything but family, or the life of an ordinary but happily married man whose everything is his family?

"The Family Man," directed by Brett Ratner, tries to give you the right answer. "The film explores different ways in which success can be defined, and how family can be the key to lasting happiness," said Anthony Leong, a movie critic at MediaCircus.net.

For Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage), nothing is as important as his career. And he is well-rewarded for his hard work with a plush Manhattan penthouse, designer suits and a Ferrari.

However, there is one thing missing in Jack's life. Thirteen years ago, he came close to getting married to his college sweetheart, Kate (Tea Leoni), but then deserted her in order to follow his professional ambitions. Against Kate's wishes, Jack, then a young college grad, left for an internship in London.?

After all these years, Jack is given a second chance at life and love, albeit involuntarily. He wakes up one morning to find himself with a totally different identity. He is now a tire salesman, living in a quiet New Jersey suburb with his wife, the former Kate, and their two children. Instead of The Wall Street Journal, he reads the local paper, and his designer duds are replaced by discount suits from the neighborhood outlet store.?t first, he desperately wants to return to his former life.?owever, as time goes by, he recognizes that his new life as a family man is more valuable than a high-powered career.

"I enjoyed this movie a lot because it reminded me of the worth of family, in a world where money seems to reign," said Oh Taek-jin, a moviegoer.

However, not all moviegoers were generous in their reviews.?ew Sun-sang said, "Though the movie's premise was interesting, the story was kind of boring, without any plot twists."

Desson Howe, a film critic at The Washington Post, remarked, "This movie is nothing, more or less, than a cheap, dirty grab. Brett Ratner doesn't do more than steer this conventional soul-cleansing."

"The Family Man" sets up a stale conflict, good family man vs evil workaholic, and champions the former in the end. Outside of movie fantasy, though, not everyone is fortunate enough to enjoy a happy, carefree family life. There are many who have no other choice but to concentrate on work and career. Although they may not always be present, that does not make them any less loving as spouses or parents. Isn't it then a merely half-baked idea for the film to force such a one-sided conclusion on so many of today's hard working people?

Despite these criticisms, one thing that is clear is that family is dear to all. Moreover, there is no accounting for differing tastes.?hatever your reaction to this film may be, it is nonetheless legitimately yours.

by Chun Su-jin

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