It is an election year, and for those of
us who are tired of the continual caucusing, primaries, debates, and
polls, it's nice to be able to escape the electoral process by going to
see a movie. Even though Welcome to Mooseport is about a
mayoral election, that's okay...it's so mundane that you'll forget
before the film ends. In fact, it's so vapid that you're likely to
forget your own name.
The beauty of the film is that once you see it,
you'll be able to see it again in three months and remember
absolutely nothing about it. It is entirely
forgettable. It's kind of surprising, considering that there's a
Ray Romano from "Everybody Loves Raymond" is the star. Wow.
Comedy genius, right there. He is the undisputed king of fumbling
awkwardness, and he gets to do some of it in this film. Do you
love Ray Romano (like everybody)? Do you really love him?
Lots? Do you see every episode of his show (whatever night
it airs) with die-hard loyalty? Does it make you fall on the floor
in waves of uncontrolled laughter? If so, there's about a 1%
chance that you'd find this movie to be somewhat marginal. Okay,
the Masked Reviewer might be exaggerating a little bit. But,
Welcome to Mooseport doesn't have the wacky characters support him
that "Everybody Loves Raymond" has.
That's a problem. You can take just about anyone and surround
them with wacky characters and you get a sit-com that will be at least
marginally successful for many years. You can also do a very
subtle comedy, with jokes that aren't uproariously funny, and it can
work if the characters or plot are interesting.
This movie doesn't feature any interesting characters. Not a
one. They tried for a lot of the standard character types: the
sneaky, driven politician. The conniving, plotting politician's
staff members. The strong female love-interest. And let's
not forget the wacky locals, full of sass and down-home flare! But
not a one of them leaves a lasting impression.
The cast is impressive. Gene Hackman plays the kind of role he
often plays in comedies: a charming yet flawed dignitary of some sort.
Maura Tierney (who you may remember from such TV shows as "ER" and "News
Radio") plays the kind of role she often plays: a quiet and frustrated
good-hearted love interest, burdened by life. Fred Savage (who you
may remember from "The Wonder Years" and one of those Austin Powers
movies) plays the kind of role he often plays: a young man, eager to
impress. Christine Baranski (who you may remember from "Cybill"
and The Birdcage) plays the kind of role she often plays: a
sophisticated bitch. And Academy Award (tm) Nominee Marcia Gay
Harden (who you may remember from Mystic River) plays...well...a
The writing for this film is awful. Despite competent acting
across the board (except for Ray Romano, who is still refining the
intricacies of his stagecraft), none of the characters are
well-developed or even remotely interesting. It's a movie set in a
small town -- there are going to be those crazy and colorful locals,
right? Even they are boring.
This movie would seem to appeal primarily to old folks: people who
like comedies that aren't too funny. You don't have to think, the
ideas presented are simple and hackneyed, and it's not in "bad taste".
It's the kind of movie that some people will laugh at, because the punch
lines to jokes can be seen from a mile away. Most of us just get
bored by these films, but to some, it's the pinnacle of movie
entertainment: because they can figure out the punch line
before it's said, they feel smart and funny. Great. For most
people, though, it's just sad.
It's not a movie that you can really get angry about, because it's
so...nothing. You might find yourself noticing different things
about the actors who are in it...you may picture them not as
celebrities, but as people who have to make a living and show up to a
job and work hard and bring home a check to pay the mortgage. They
aren't bad. They do a good job with what they're given.
But...yikes...watching Welcome to Mooseport is like waiting for a
bus. However, if you wait for a bus for 2 hours, the excitement is
still maintained, because you know the bus will eventually show up.
Mooseport just drags on.
Fortunately, like Chinese food, Welcome to Mooseport will be
gone entirely from your memory, possibly before it's over, leaving you
hungry for another movie.
Expectation from the Title: The sailors on the French frigate
S.S. Bon Apetit had been at sea for months; now on the verge of mutiny
due to the lack of chocolate creamy deserts, their captain decides to
set ashore and get the men what they need.
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
Gene Hackman gives his all in every project he's in.
The Pros: Well...it's not offensive intellectually...and there
is a moose in it at one point. The big joke in the movie
The Cons: Dull, nothing, boring, vapid, empty.