out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
Welcome To Mooseport
|*Also starring: ||Paul Bates, Marcia Gay Harden, Wayne Robson, Jackie Richardson, Fred Savage, June Squibb, Krista Sutton, Rip Torn, Philip Williams, John Rothman||
Review by Susan Granger
2 stars out of 4
Everybody loves Ray Romano on TV, but will you pay to see him on the big
screen? That's the key question that will determine the success or failure of
his major film debut.
In this new comedy, Romano plays "Handy" Harrison, an earnest hardware
store owner who's a contender for Mayor in a small Maine town. But Handy faces
a formidable rival in an arrogant former U.S. President, Monroe "Eagle" Cole
(Gene Hackman), who has retired to his idyllic New England town, accompanied by
a devoted personal secretary (Marcia Gay Harden) and a young PR advisor (Fred
Savage of TV's "The Wonder Years"). And as Eagle's long-time campaign manager
(Rip Torn) observes, the stakes go even higher when the ex-President's greedy
ex-wife (Christine Baranski), dubbed "The Wicked Witch of the West Wing,"
The key to Ray Romano's success is his gentle, self-effacing quality, not
unlike Tom Hanks, whose career also began on a sit-com. Veteran comedy director
Donald Petrie ("How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days") captures the essence of this
easy-going appeal and Tom Schulman's screenplay, based on a short story by Doug
Richardson, doesn't force Romano to venture too far from his "Everybody Loves
Raymond" comfort zone. Romano's next film, "Eulogy" with Debra Winger, Hank
Azaria and Rip Torn, set for release this spring, may show a bit more
versatility. But, right here, right now, Romano's living in caricature-ville.
He's surrounded with simplistic, generic stereotypes and all attempts at
political humor have been carved with a dull knife. On the Granger Movie Gauge
of 1 to 10, "Welcome to Mooseport" is a floundering 5. It has an appealing
premise that goes nowhere at a slow slog, following the pace of Bruce the
Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger
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