Gene Hackman, Ray Romanao, Maura Tierney, and Marcia Gay Harden
Directed by: Donald Petrie
Mooseport is one of those dreaded middle-of-the-road comedies.
Its friendly, nicety-nice, mock-funny, play-it-safe and use-all-the-cliche's-we-got
style would have been more comfortable on LifetimeTV or the like.
The script flows like a 'Comedy Romance 101' project, for a drama
student, in a first year film school.
goes...Handy Harrison (Ray Romano) is a white-toast monotone,
yet, likeable guy. He's friendly to all in the town and meanders
through his day with an internal "whistle-while-you-work"
smile. His girlfriend - of six years - Dr. Sutherland (Maura Tierney)
is just pining away the days waiting for the schlub to ask her
to marry him. He, of course, is clueless to her "secret"
desire of wedlock.
the ex-President of the United States, Monroe "Eagle"
Cole (Gene Hackman) moves to Mooseport, and is instantly smitten
with Dr.Sutherland, suddenly Handy peeps his head from his turtle's
shell. What's this another man wants his woman! Now he's ready
to rumble...well, play golf to win her back.
the mayhem doesn't stop there...that's just a perecentage of the
shennagans! See, Mooseport needs a Mayor. And the ex-President
offered to do the job. But, in what can only be called blatant
plot movement, Handy "Ho-Hum" Harrison too is vying
for the position.
testosterone and politics seep into our fable and the two
men amicably (think of the "After you." - "No,
after you. I insist." duo Chip n' Dale), battle for the girl
and the post for the next two hours. Parts play like leftover
dialog from the 'Andy Griffith Show' and the characters are cookie-cutter
folks dreamt up while the writer gazed at some Norman Rockwell
painting, Comedy For Dummies handbook in hand. There are a couple
of laughs - you can see those for free in the trailer. But to
fork out half a hundred bucks (after popcorn purchase) to partake
in the semi-mayhem? No way!
me Ray Romano is physically like a meatier non-edgy blank version
of John Turturro. Sadly, his "Handy" character is the
same as he's famous for from his sitcom. But here the poor guy
is adrift in a sea without the same workable oneliners.
In fact his whiney bellowing one-liners, kinda cute on primetime
and anchored by his TV costars, seem a tad psychotic here as his
fellow film actors just seem to let them go unacknowledged - like
he didn't really speak outloud.
Hackman was cordial as the ex-President of the United States Monroe
"Eagle" Cole. The Hackman always gives good superiority
and comedy, too bad the script let the big palooka down...
of ripping talented actors off - the supporting chicks, radiant
Maura Tierney and beautiful Marcia Gay Harden, play women that
have the scholastic degrees we want to see, but, with the backbone
of those pseudo-American housewife gals devious ad campaigns created
way-back-when to blur a women's life goals and drive her to little
yellow pills. As if stirring up stereotypes of yesteryear wasn't
pathetic enough, the film "went there" with the older
guy, younger girl routine - it was almost disturbing to watch
Hackman try to seduce Tierney while Harden seethed silently, lusting
in the shadows, like the dutiful woman the writer thinks still
(ever) existed. Mr. Hackman's enormous talent aside, what's he
the lighter side of eighty? Um, yech.
recommendation: T-bone and a soda pop.