Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
Rating:

This high-concept bid to be the new IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE is a surprisingly

charming fable about a Wall Street shark who gets an eye-opening glimpse of

the road not taken. Back in the go-go '80s, Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage) made

a pivotal decision: Ignoring the pleas of college sweetheart Kate (Tea Leoni),

he pursued a London-based internship that set him on the road to

master-of-the-universe-dom. Jack's career flourished. His relationship with

Kate withered. Now fabulously wealthy and surrounded by the perks of success

— expensive cars, clothes and women — Jack is apparently untroubled

by the prospect of spending Christmas Eve drinking eggnog alone, and Christmas

Day wooing a powerful business contact halfway across the country. When he

gets a message Kate has called, he throws it away — who wants to

reminisce with old girlfriends when there are mega-mergers to be brokered?

Then Jack is touched by an angel (Don Cheadle) in disguise, and gets a look at

the way things might have been. He falls asleep in his swank Manhattan

penthouse, and wakes up a suburban New Jersey dad, married to Kate and the father of baby Josh and precocious Annie (Makenzie Vega), the only person who

sees right through him. A practical child, she decides her real dad's been

kidnapped by aliens and this ersatz paterfamilias will do until he

returns. It goes without saying that Jack will eventually realize that

domestic harmony and real friends are worth more than the glittering baubles

money can buy. But he takes his sweet time getting over the Ferrari and the

power suits, which is one of the many things this movie does right. Casting

Leoni as Kate is another; even swaddled in a soccer-mom's wardrobe, she's

charismatic enough to make you think growing old with her is a real

alternative to life in the fast lane.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: PG-13
  • User Rating:4.58 out of 5 (36 ratings)
  • Your Rating:
  • Review: This high-concept bid to be the new IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE is a surprisingly charming fable about a Wall Street shark who gets an eye-opening glimpse of the road not taken. Back in the go-go '80s, Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage) made a pivotal decisi… (more)

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