Meteorology isn’t an exact science and weather men, and those ladies too, are prone to getting it wrong (even when they do get it right, you know it’s just a guessing game; anyone can slip on a suit and point at a blue screen, mate!). Centring around one such loathsome forecaster, it’s somewhat unsurprising that there’s little to admire in this melancholic comedy from blockbuster filmmaker Gore Verbinski.
In one of his rare muted performances, Nicolas Cage stars as local cable weatherman David Spritz. Behind the glazed veneer and cheesy grin, Spritz is on the brink of insanity. His personal life is a shambles too, with disinterested kids, a begrudging ex-wife (played reliably well by Hope Davis), and a discerning pulitzer-prize winning novelist dad (Michael Caine who, with over fifty years in the acting business, still fails to accomplish a decent American accent). With a network job offer and move to the Big Apple in grasp, Spritz has a last-ditched attempt at patching up all lose ends and find happiness once again, whilst trying to dodge drive-by junk food pelting. Yeah, the citizens of Chicago don’t like him, so why should we?
With a nauseating, cerebral soundtrack and ruminating voiceover narration, cheap-shot comparisons can be made with Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love. Instead, it’s narrative draws on familiar Alexander Payne territory, with a particularly neurotic take on the male menopause and the age-old #firstworldproblems. Unfortunately for us, this isn’t a Payne film, it’s a Verbinski film. Lest we forget, this is the man who brought us not one or two, but three Pirates of the Caribbean films. Need I say more?
Although there is some acerbic wit fluttering through Steve Conrad’s script, it’s difficult to muster any enthusiasm for the difficult central character who is, in short, a total prick. A man on a timely tipping point, you can’t help but want to push him over the edge.
Yes, I think it’s going to rain today.