Although indicated in the title, A Family Man is not a family movie. It is the story of how a man struggles with balancing his career and his time with his family; one which has been repeatedly told in numerous movies. You would think that with this glaring issue, the film would introduce something new to differentiate itself. Unfortunately, nothing stands out.
Dane Jensen (Gerard Butler) is a headhunter at a demanding recruitment agency that constantly fires its weakest employees. He loves his job and is good at it so it's only natural for him to work overtime; arriving home late while the rest of his family is sleeping.
there are scenes where he and his wife Elise (Gretchen Mol) argue; and you'll
hear clichÃÂÃÂ©d dialogues such as "When
you're here, you're not really here" and responses like "I provide for this family!" It's an all-too familiar conflict that is pretty tiring to watch.
The movie picks up after the family finds out their eldest son Ryan (Maxwell Jenkins) has cancer. The workaholic father suddenly has a change of heart, and chooses to ditch work hours to spend quality time with his son. Cue the father-and-son bonding montage and the heartstring-tugging moments.
Again, you can already see these coming a mile away. Even if your eyes might well up in a few particular scenes, it still doesn't justify such a formulaic script. Because of this, the melodrama just seems superficial.
Gerard Butler doesn't quite nail it, either. It's understandable that he's trying different roles but being someone who stars mostly in action films, Butler doesn't have that charm the likes of Robert Downey Jr. or Dennis Quaid have. I imagine a different outcome for this film would result if a more suited actor played the part. Since a story the like that ofÃÂÃÂ A Family Man relies heavily on its lead, a bad casting choice makes all the difference; even if the supporting cast delivered excellent performances.ÃÂÃÂA Family Man is an okay choice if you're bored out of your skull and are flicking through TV channels for something to watch. You would be better off watching more interesting alternatives like Click or AMC's Breaking Bad (at least it's the fater with cancer in that one).