A dark cloud follows Nicolas Cage in Gore Verbinski's comedy drama The Weather Man. It marks yet another sea change for the director of Pirates Of The Caribbean and The Ring, this time offering a wry meditation on the frustrating randomness of life. Like the wind, "life just blows all over the place", a metaphor that also applies to Steve Conrad's script. But while it lacks a clear course, the skilful blend of laughs and pathos gradually sucks you in.
Cage's weatherman David Spritz is on top of his game yet struggles to muster a sunny disposition. He's routinely pelted with milkshakes by malicious fans, can't get over his failed marriage (to a no-nonsense Hope Davis) and struggles to connect with his children (Gemmenne de la Peña and Nicholas Hoult). A clue to his emotional retardation lies with his own father, cannily played by Michael Caine as a once celebrated author who may have rested on his laurels too long.
"A LITTLE SELF-CONSCIOUS"
Verbinski lingers on minimalist performances by Caine and Cage and achieves a seductive mood of heightened reality that occasionally leans towards the absurd. Their exchanges are amusingly frank, not least in discussing the affliction of "camel toe" that means Spritz's daughter is getting bullied at school. At times though it all feels a little self-conscious. Spritz takes up archery to focus his thoughts, but this ultimately feels like an excuse for a quirky poster image. Overall, it's not as rousing as it should be, but it is poignant, funny and provides novel evidence that every cloud has a silver lining.