Stephen Conrad has written a crafty movie that director Gore Verbinksi translates a into lucid, deadpan satire. The key, as it often is in films about losers, is Nicholas Cage.
Cage is Chicago weatherman Dave Spritz. His daughter is obese, his son in rehab, his nerdy wife Noreen (Hope Davis) involved with another man. Dave’s father Robert (a miscast but poignant Michael Caine) is a laconic, Pulitzer Prize-winner author who has endured years of writer’s block and is now dying of cancer. Dave is not the man he wants to be. He’s an American failure (a salesman who sells weather). Randomly pelted by fast food, he decides it’s happening because fast food is not nutritious (“I am fast food.”) Of his salary, he says, “I received a large reward for zero contribution.” This would seem like the right stuff for a man on the edge of a nervous breakdown (and no more) were it not for Cage’s uncanny gift for softening the darkness around him.
He knows nothing about weather, so many of his forecasts are wrong. But Conrad’s script is about life’s failed predictions, not weather. It’s tedious at times, but always sly and often touching.