By Ty Burr
Updated July 25, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: It's a Wonderful Life: Photofest

A comparison can be made between ”The Family Man,” new on video, and Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life: Both films are midlife crisis fantasies in which angelic intervention allows the hero to appreciate the eternal verities of family and belonging. In truth, ”Family Man” is ”Wonderful Life” turned inside out, and not particularly for the better.

Where Jimmy Stewart got to see how lousy Bedford Falls would be if he’d never been born, Nicolas Cage’s Jack Campbell finally understands how happy he’d have been if he’d just married Kate (Téa Leoni), moved to New Jersey, and had kids rather than become a coldhearted czar of Wall Street. ”Life,” in other words, explores all the things that could go wrong — and thanks to Stewart’s shockingly bitter performance, it remains scary as hell.

It's a Wonderful Life

  • Movie
  • 130 minutes
  • Frank Capra