Who's in It:
Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine, Hope Davis
The Basics: A Chicago weather man experiences an existential crisis and a lot of product-placed fast foods being thrown at him.
What's the Deal? The Oscars should be held in May. That way bummer movies like this would be released in February when everyone's already miserable, and the actors could do that dour, defeated thing that gets them awards and no one would accuse them of ruining the fourth-quarter holidays. As it is, we get dreary, bitter dramedies like this one just when we're all supposed to be feeling merry and bright. Who's running Hollywood, anyway?
How It's Like Every Single Indie Movie About Bummed-Out People: There's Cage, for starters, the go-to guy for Big Studio-Brand Off-Kilter. He's depressed because his family life is a shambles. There's a supporting cast of expressionless people who're going through similar difficulties — his preteen daughter is overweight and gets called "Camel-toe" at school, and his award-winning novelist father (Caine) has cancer. And, oh yes, there's a pedophile running around.
How It's Like Every Other Big-Budget Hollywood Movie: It minimizes its other characters so they don't steal focus from the star name above the title. Cage does all the work here. Davis, who's really a very good actor, is just the bitter ex-wife. You understand nothing about her beyond the fact that's she's fed up with Cage.
Meaningful Product Placement Is Still Product Placement: Chicagoans angry about the cold, slushy weather throw an impressive variety of products at Cage, all labels and logos facing the camera. Just like in real life.
What's Good About It: There are some bluntly funny moments between Caine and Cage, there's no fake-happy ending and you get to hear Caine say the word "camel-toe."