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Welcome to Mooseport

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Jan
Welcome to Mooseport

from Film Forum, 02/26/04

Gene Hackman stars in Welcome to Mooseport, playing an ex-president who runs for mayor in a small town, only to find himself facing off against an impassioned opponent, the local plumber (Ray Romano). The rivalry is fueled by the politician's flirtations with the plumber's girlfriend (Maura Tierney.)

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) calls it "a pleasant if uninspired comedy. Director Donald Petrie and screenwriter Tom Schulman don't break any new ground here. They keep the film rather simple, playing to the strengths of their leads."

Bob Smithouser (Plugged In) says the film "has heart, a moral compass and an affection for the people onscreen … including the 'bad guy.' It's a comely comedy that campaigns hard for personal integrity. By today's PG-13 standards, families could do a lot worse. Had it reined in the profanity and sexual intimations—and eliminated the streaker altogether—it could have earned a PG and a recommendation."

"While it makes some witty observations about the electoral process and the media's scrutiny of candidates' private lives," says David DiCerto (Catholic News Service), "the film fails to make good on its campaign promise of comedy. In fact what starts out as a promising premise ends up as politics as usual—early expectations quickly deflated."

Phil Boatwright (Movie Reporter) says, "The premise had promise. But this script isn't smart, let alone satirical. Mr. Romano should have brought his TV-writers, because this narrative contains the lamest comic dialogue since Dumb and Dumberer. This material is beneath all those associated with this production.

Ed Cox (Christian Spotlight) is not impressed either. "Billed as a comedy, offered as a high tension 'who's gonna win the election, girl, etc.', it misses both marks badly. A lame movie might still be able to walk out of the theater, this one had to have help."

Mainstream critics are not terribly impressed with Ray Romano's big screen debut (although he did a fine job as a wooly mammoth in the animated Ice Age.) Looks like he'll be staying on TV until a better film comes along.