Welcome to Mooseport review by Matt Fuerst


You're a nerdy fellow living in the frozen wasteland tundra typically called Michigan when the magical vacation fairy comes down and blesses you with a weeks vacation in the middle of the month of February. So you book your tickets, destination: south, warmth, sun. February rolls around and you find yourself in the middle of the vertically prominent state of Florida spending day after day in the in limbo resort called Disney World. Your last day of freedom approaches and you soon find yourself on your last day of your trip. What do you do you with your remaining hours of freedom? Well, if you're like me, you go see a mediocre new release in the local theatre.

Yes with a measly few hours of sunshine to spare until I returned to a snow accumulation measured in feet, I entered into the hallowed air conditioned halls of the AMC 26 located in Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida. Though no one in my group was particularly excited at the release of Welcome to Mooseport, it did fit well into our travel timetable, so off we went. We got exactly we expected and what was advertised. A simple romantic comedy, and the jokes from the trailer were in the film, no more, no less.

Mooseport follows the suburban adventure of Handy Andy (Ray Romano), a small towns local plumber as his life is turned upside down by the arrival of former President Monroe Cole, nicknamed The Eagle (Gene Hackman). Handy Andy, real name Harold, is in trouble with his girlfriend of 6 years, well, I guess I just gave away the reason for the trouble. The Eagle, fresh from his presidency as well as a divorce, lands in Mooseport, Maine when his ex-wife takes his main residence. Eagle mixes up Harold's relationship with Sally Mannis (Maura Tierney) as he begins to flirt with her. In the exchange of events, the towns mayor unexpectedly passes away on the eve of the registering for another term, and the city council offers the position to the former president, while the other hand unknowingly offers the same position to Handy Andy.

Apparently the writers felt so strongly about this premise they pretty much matured the story to this point and assumed that the hilarity would ensue, as my lackluster synopsis and overly long introduction paragraphs contain as many thrills and chuckles as the film itself. The movie is pretty evenly split in it's editing and pacing... we get a political scene concerning The Eagle and Handy Andy's mayoral race, then a scene concerning Harold and Sally's relationship. Back and forth like a senior going to the bathroom during free coffee hour.

It must be commended that Ray Romano has solidified his ability to play the dumb, easygoing guy now accomplishing the same position satisfactorily on both the big and the small screen. His acting range apparently is as varied as my knowledge of nanotechnology, very small. At least he doesn't do the Tony Danza and make every role have the name Ray, I will give him that credit. We Jackasses are pretty big Maura Tierney fans having an awe-inspiring 2 degrees of separation between us and Maura being C.P.F.'s (that's close personal friends) with director Richard Shepard. Maura does an alright job with her role. She plays the frustrated girlfriend thing well and hits all the cues. She isn't given a lot to work with. I must say Hackman isn't anything to get excited about either. We all know he can do the straight role well and certainly is talented enough to do some comedy as well, but there isn't anything memorable his character accomplishes or this role adds to his resume. I feel pretty confident that no Mooseport clips will be shown during the lifetime achievement awards for Hackman (nor Tierney if she receives any). Romano could have tons of highlights since it's the same-old for him.

I can't really imagine a group that I could recommend seeing this film. It's not a very successful romantic nor political comedy. Fans of any of the actors should stay clear. If you think you need more Ray Romano, just stay at home and tune to your local Fox/WB/UPN affiliate at 5 or 6 PM and watch more Everybody Loves Raymond. A typical 30 minute episode will have the same number of Romano-esque laughs, condensed down to a third of the time, and you can send you $5 matinee money to me at Jackass Critic Central.

3 out of 10 Jackasses
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