A Family Man is a film about an ambitious, corporate-type who is forced to reassess his priorities. Sound familiar? It’s because this road to redemption is a well-trodden one. A Family Man continues along this journey of clichés without offering anything particularly original or endearing through the process.
Gerard Butler (300) stars as Dane Jensen or the eponymous guy. He is a workaholic who has built a career as a head-hunter and is a quintessential alpha male. Jensen’s boss, Ed Blackridge (Willem Defoe) is hinting at retirement. Blackridge will hand over the reins of the company to the person who closes the most deals and earns the organisation the largest profit for the year. In contention are Jensen and his driven, younger co-worker Lynn Vogel (Alison Brie).
Dane Jensen is not a particularly likeable individual. He takes his wife Elsie (Gretchen Mol) for granted when she is simply trying to get by and hold together a young family and compensate for the children’s absentee father. Jensen is also thankless with respect to things in the bedroom. He also has a scene when he calls out his son (Max Jenkins) over the boy’s weight. The latter is quite a misfire because this actually proves to be a aside-effect of leukaemia. The diagnosis of this rare childhood cancer puts a spanner in the works for Jensen because this boy needs his father more than ever.
This story is written by Bill Dubuque (The Accountant) and is a long, drawn-out melodrama with throwaway performances. The plot is one that you feel like you’ve seen plenty of times before and it has been realised in a much more interesting and memorable way elsewhere. The characters themselves actually seem rather hollow and barely realised and the direction by Mark Williams (The Accountant) leaves things feeling like a tele-movie at best.
A Family Man is a weak offering where questions are raised about the pursuit of a career versus the importance of family time. The result is like drinking a brew that is made out of a much-used tea bag. It means you have something that could have been tasty and nourishing, but instead it is reduced to the consistency of dull water. Boring.
Review Score: TWO STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
A Family Man is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from 17th October 2017.