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Nicolas Cage isn't a meteorologist, but he plays one on local TV, a dishonorable act that makes him a cosmic magnet for drinks thrown from passing vehicles. His wife (Hope Davis) has divorced him, his daughter is unhappily obese, and his son is being preyed upon by a gay guidance counselor. But the bitch goddess of big money and national stardom beckons when a network morning show begins courting him. Cage's character is too much of a loser to be interesting for long, but Michael Caine is magnificent as his troubled and acerbic father, a Pulitzer-winning poet who correctly sees the son's unearned privilege as the root of his emotional difficulties. Written by Steve Conrad, this is the smartest script director Gore Verbinski has ever had, and he makes the most of it, aided by a strong cast. R, 102 min.

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