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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Family Man (2000)



Reviews and Comments

Think It's a Wonderful Life in reverse. What if a business tycoon, who has apparently made all the "wrong" choices, got a chance to see what his life would have been like had he made the "right" ones? The "wrong" choice is a business trip, and the "right" choice is to stay with his sweetheart. So, thanks to the mysterious intervention of an angel, he gets to see how much happier he would have been if he had picked love over money.

The problem is, his rich life sure looked a lot more fun, and if this had been me, I'd have been supremely annoyed that this angel came along and screwed it all up. The protagonist of this story doesn't seem to be missing anything, emotionally speaking, until he gets thrust into the glimpse of what might have been. What's the big cosmic problem?

By the time he actually starts thinking he made the wrong choices in life after all, his glimpse is over, and now he cannot take joy in either life. Oh, it supposedly works out all right in the end, but I can't help thinking the guy must live the rest of his life traumatized over the loss of precious memories of things that never happened. Great.

Consequently, the movie completely fails as the kind of "feel good" movie it tries to be. I don't dismiss it entirely, however; although it did not make me feel what it wanted me to feel, it did make me feel *something* and get me to thinking about the wild psychological consequences of its premise. That's worth something, but I can't say I found the experience a particularly pleasant one.