31 October 2005 | maxwellsmart
Alternately hilarious and dark, with misleading marketing
When I first saw the advertisements for "The Weather Man", it seemed like the movie was going to be another formulaic, feel good Hollywood redemption tale. In reality, it is a dark, scathing satire of American values. The marketing likely scared away a lot of people who would enjoy the film, while attracting an audience who was presented with something unexpected and perhaps uncomfortable. The comedy is quite raunchy, the tone is bleak, and the story is anything but formulaic, throwing industry conventions right out the window, which leads to a film that's more believable than most.
David Spritz is a man whose life has become the ultimate exercise in futility. Each day, he wakes up and goes to a job that, despite paying a handsome salary, is entirely unfulfilling. His relationship with his ex-wife is strained, his relationship with his children distant. To make things worse, his Pulitzer Prize winning father seems to be disappointed in what David has done with his life.
In real life, progress in one's personal life is generally made in baby steps. Usually, people don't undergo a drastic transformation over the course of several months. David attempts to improve his standing in life, at times failing entirely, at times succeeding in small doses. The results of these attempts range from very funny to downright saddening, and this helps lend the film an air of realism. This is a complicated character study about a man coming to grips with the fact that he's failed to meet any of the goals he set for himself in life, despite attaining a social standing that many people are envious of. There aren't any easy answers or life altering epiphanies; self-improvement is a long, gradual task that will probably never be completely fulfilled, and "The Weather Man" reflects this reality. While not for all tastes, this movie deserves credit for tackling a relatively conventional subject in a very unconventional, at least for a mainstream Hollywood movie, manner. I imagine that this film will be a bigger success overseas and on DVD than it will be in its US theatrical run.