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The Family Man is a 2000 American romantic comedy-drama film starring Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni. Cage's production company, Saturn Films, helped produce the film.

Plot

Jack Campbell is a single Wall Street executive living in New York City. He is in the midst of putting together a multibillion-dollar merger and has ordered an emergency meeting on Christmas Day. In his office, on Christmas Eve, he hears that his former girlfriend, Kate, called him after many years, which he disregards, uninterested.

On the way home he walks into a convenience store where a lottery contestant, Cash, has a winning ticket worth $238. The store clerk does not believe Cash, so Cash pulls out a gun to threaten him and Jack offers to buy the ticket to prevent any violence. Jack offers to help Cash. In return, Cash questions Jack, asking him if he is missing anything in his life. Jack says he has everything he needs. Cash tells Jack that actions have consequences and that Jack has brought whatever is coming on himself. A puzzled Jack returns to his penthouse and sleeps.

On Christmas Day, Jack wakes up in a suburban New Jersey bedroom with Kate and two children. He hurries back to his office and condo in New York, but his closest friends do not recognize him. Jack runs out to the street and encounters Cash driving Jack's Ferrari. Cash is revealed to be a guardian angel. Cash explains that Jack is experiencing a glimpse of an alternate universe in order to learn a lesson. He advises Jack to take the time to learn whatever it is that he needs to learn.

Jack is living the life he could have had, had he stayed in the United States with his girlfriend. He has a modest family life, where he is a car tire salesman for Kate's father and Kate is a non-profit lawyer. Jack's young daughter realizes his secret, thinks he is an alien and decides to assist him in surviving his new life. Jack struggles to fit into the role of a family man, such as missing opening Christmas presents, flirting with a married woman and forgetting his anniversary. He begins to succeed in his life, bonding with his children, falling in love with his wife and working hard at his job.

At a chance meeting, he is offered a contract to work at the same investment firm from his real life, having impressed his former boss, Chairman Peter Lassiter, with his business savvy when Lassiter comes in for a tire change. His old mentor offers him a job, while formerly sycophantic Alan Mintz is in Jack's old position, with an assertiveness he did not possess as a subordinate. While he is wowed by the potential salary and other complimentary extreme luxuries, Kate argues that they are very happy and they should be thankful for their life.

Having finally realized the true value of his new life, Jack again sees Cash, now a store clerk. He demands to stay in this life, but Cash informs him there is no choice: a glimpse, by definition, is an impermanent thing. That night, Jack tries to stay awake, but fails and wakes the "next day" to find himself in his wealthy former life, on Christmas Day. He forgoes closing the acquisition deal to intercept Kate, finding her moving out of a luxury townhouse before flying to Paris. Like Jack, she has focused on her career and has become a very wealthy corporate lawyer. She had only called him to return a box of his old possessions. He chases after her to the airport and describes the family they had in the alternate universe in an effort to win back her love. She agrees to talk over a cup of coffee before making a decision. The credits begin to roll as they talk animatedly over the coffee.

Cast

  • Nicolas Cage as Jack Campbell
  • Téa Leoni as Kate Reynolds / Kate Campbell
  • Don Cheadle as Cash
  • Makenzie Vega as Annie Campbell
  • Jake and Ryan Milkovich as Josh Campbell
  • Jeremy Piven as Arnie
  • Lisa Thornhill as Evelyn Thompson
  • Saul Rubinek as Alan Mintz
  • Josef Sommer as Peter Lassiter
  • Harve Presnell as Ed Reynolds
  • Mary Beth Hurt as Adelle
  • Francine York as Lorraine Reynolds
  • Amber Valletta as Paula
  • Ken Leung as Sam Wong
  • Kate Walsh as Jeannie
  • Gianni Russo as Nick
  • Tom McGowan as Bill
  • Joel McKinnon Miller as Tommy
  • Robert Downey Sr. 'A Prince' as Man in house
  • Paul Sorvino (deleted scenes) as Sydney Potter
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