The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Welcome To Mooseport

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Judy Thorburn

Welcome To Mooseport

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

“WELCOME TO MOOSEPORT” BUT DON’T EXPECT MUCH FROM THIS VISIT

Ray Romano has found the perfect niche for himself, at least on the small screen. As the star of TV’s Everybody Loves Raymond” he has most certainly achieved success in a comfort role based on his own real life family experiences. With a brand of humor that is neither brash nor offensive, this likeable comedian turned actor is Middle America’s favorite TV son. An Emmy on his mantle is tangible proof of that fact.   But, since this may be his show’s last season, I guess he figures it might be just the time to branch out and test the waters of the big screen. Isn’t that what all the major TV stars aim for anyway? However, In Ray’s case, Welcome to Mooseport doesn’t really prove to be much of an acting stretch. What you see in his TV series is basically what you get in this film, only not as funny, nor as likeable.

Welcome to Mooseport refers to the small town in Maine. It’s a sweet little community where the townsfolk are so laidback they have become accustomed to their few eccentricities such the street wanderings of Bruce the moose, or the elderly naked jogger, among their other harmless citizens.  It is just part of their friendly atmosphere and no big deal.  Everyone knows handyman “Handy” Harrison (Romano) owner of the hardware store, and his six year with relationship with girlfriend, Sally (a very bland Maura Tierney, TV’s ER) the town veterinarian, who is tired of waiting for commitment shy Handy to pop the question.

What does make an impact on their lives and excitement for Mooseport is the arrival of former U.S. President, Monroe “Eagle” Cole (Gene Hackman) who has built a vacation home there, the only refuge left from his divorce from money grubbing ex-wife Charlotte (Christine Baranski). With secret service agents, his devoted assistant Grace (Marcia Gay Harden), and young PR director, Bullard (a grown up Fred Savage) always at hand, the self assured politician is ready to embark on his “retirement” career devoted to writing his memoirs, high paying speaking engagements, or planning the construction of his multimillion dollar library to be named in his honor, when he isn’t busy playing golf.  Sounds like a plan, until town Mayor Harmon dies and the town council decides to ask the President to take his place. It could prove to be good PR, with an added benefit. The former first lady wouldn’t be able to claim his house if he were mayor; plus the job would mostly be ceremonial. There’s only one glitch. Handy, the plumber/repairman has put his hat in the ring and declared himself a candidate; not realizing the President was approached to fill the job. Handy is ready to withdraw from the race until he sees the former Commander in Chief making the move on his girlfriend, Sally. This leads to a challenging fight for office as a result of jealousy, but it is delivered within a script that is unimaginative and devoid of any real fun.

It’s all very predictable, but you have to wait it all out in what seems like a made for TV movie rather than a big screen feature film. Of course, since Cole is a well known political figure, we get to endure the media’s take by take on Cole’s run for small town mayor including an in your face showing at Cole’s date with Sally and their coverage of his attempt at courtship.  I am sure I am not the only one who thought what a horrendous mismatch. They look like father and daughter or worse- lecherous old man with young woman. Maybe this was a Clinton/Monica Lewinski jab!

Not one situation, or any character comes across as amusing, interesting or someone to care about. Baranski’s former first lady, Charlotte is obnoxious, and loud. Fred Savage is treated like a misbehaved child who is told to stand out of eyesight, and one of the secret service agents is looking for the go ahead to kill someone. I was waiting for just one good laugh, but I all I got was a couple of repeated gags such as microphone feedback (how funny is that?) a bit about Sally’s panties that falls flat, and others not worth mentioning. You get the picture.

What it comes down to is a mediocre story that has little to do with politics and everything to do with getting the girl.  That’s nice and sweet. Too bad it was wrapped up in such a boring script.  Gene Hackman is an imposing man who fits the role of president, with all its potential for self-important arrogance. But, this is the wrong film to waste that character on. The same can be said of wonderful Harden (2002 Oscar winner for Pollack and present nominee for Mystic River), whose emotional ties to the President mirrors Sally’s with Handy.  These are great actors who need to have a serious talk with their agent.

As for Ray Romano, he needs more than the popularity of his TV show to make him a movie star.  He was hilarious as the voice of the animated lead character in Ice Age. I hope that he can show himself capable of appearing on screen in a variety of roles. In Mooseport he failed to get my vote. We know Everybody Loves Raymond! But, it’s time to see him playing someone else.