Variety‘s Justin Chang is calling Gore Verbinksi’s The Weather Man (Paramount, 10.28) “one of the biggest downers to emerge from a major studio in recent memory…an overbearingly glum look at a Chicago celebrity combing through the emotional wreckage of his life.” This view has been understood by Paramount for some time, and is one reason why they put off opening it earlier this year. (The theory apparently being that gloomy films play better in the fall.) “Aiming for an Alexander Payne-style synthesis of wry comedy and unflinching character study,” Chang continues, “pic has been made with the utmost sincerity, but the frankly lugubrious material and barely compensating spasms of humor are all but impossible to warm to, spelling an uncertain B.O. forecast for Paramount.” I saw The Weather Man several months ago and I’m afraid I agree. It’s one of the most grossly depressing films I’ve ever endured. It’s right up there (or down there) with Peter Brook’s black-and-white King Lear (’71) with Paul Scofield. And Nic Cage’s sad-sack weather man is one of the most intensely dislikable characters I’ve ever reluctantly spent time with in a screening room. His hair style alone is enough to ruin your evening.