Saturday, 16 August 2008

No.24 : Welcome To Mooseport

IMDb Link :

Small town Mooseport, Maine is excited when outgoing two time President Monroe ‘Eagle ‘Cole chooses to live there following his messy divorce from the posh one out of ‘Mamma Mia’. So star struck are the local town council that they ask him to replace their recently deceased mayor. Cole agrees as he feel the magnanimous gesture can only help his lucrative book and lecture deals. Unbeknown to all, local plumber ‘Handy’ Harrison had also applied for the post meaning an election is needed.

Handy agrees that a high profile mayor would be good for the town and is about to step down when he sees the President wooing his on off girlfriend, Sally. The pair then engage in an escalating battle of dirty to tricks to win the election and then to lose it when they both realise that it isn’t worth the effort. After a frankly exhausting and unfunny campaign the votes are about to be counted and there’s not going to be much in it.

With the talent on show here it can’t fail to be a top notch comedy, but fail it does in desperate fashion. The idea of a David versus Goliath battle was a decent one and they could even have made some points on the cult of celebrity and local values ahead of unrealistic aspirations. Instead it was a bit twee with nice guy Handy (Ray Romano) singularly unengaging on any level. I’ve never watched his sitcom ‘Everyone Loves Raymond’ but on this evidence they only love him as he buys the do-nuts or something. He may be able to carry off a sitcom but he is no leading man, a point justified by his flop rich movie CV.

Gene Hackman is a bit better as the egotistical President but he doesn’t really do comedy as ‘Get Shorty’ proved, and as a love rival he simply wasn’t at the races. The ensemble cast also included the Fred Savage and Rip Torn who again do well in small screen comedies but lack the spark to carry a full 110 minutes (!) of comedy. Maura Tierney whom I liked in ‘Newsradio‘ is still a dish, but the love triangle was hopelessly imbalanced in her favour. Marcia Gay Harden has an underwritten role as an aide that defies belief with the final twist. Ah well at least everyone‘s happy - except the audience!

The film was as bloated as Gene’s belly and consisted of a never ending sequence of dull speeches and talking heads and show downs and tete a tetes. There were no big set pieces, just an endless cycle of minor set backs and weak twists. Understandably the film bombed at the box office and was cause enough for Gene Hackman to retire after its dismal showing. Romano hasn’t had a hit since and appears to have gone back to TV and cartoon voice overs - maybe he should run for mayor? He’d get my vote if he promised to stay away from the movies!

Best Bit : The golf match was least bad

‘W’ Score 10/23

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