Gore Verbinski is a rare entity in Hollywood -- a mainstream director who isn't pigeonholed into one genre. He made a distinctive imprint on horror (The Ring), adventure (Pirates of the Caribbean), and finally, the mid-budget melodrama The Weather Man. This adult coming-of-age tale is darkly funny, moving, and well acted, if too long and occasionally plodding and obvious. As the weatherman, Dave Spritz, Nicolas Cage wears the burden of his mid-life crises with stoic humor and doesn't resort to any breakdown histrionics to convey his inner angst. Hope Davis has carved out a nice serio-comedic niche as the exasperated wife (see also The Matador and American Splendor) and Michael Caine is especially spot-on as Spritz's patient, loving father. Using a blue-gray color scheme, cinematographer Phedon Papamichael captures the soul-taxing brutality of frigid Chicago winters and the emotional isolation of the characters. A subplot involving a pedophile stalking Spritz's son is ill-conceived and the attempts to draw a larger case for a modern American malaise drawn from fast food and fluff TV is overwrought. But overall the depiction of a man forced to confront middle-age disappointments and accept the routine difficulties of life is well done.