Back Rowe Reviews
Real Time Movie Reviews from the Back Row of a Theater

Welcome to Mooseport (PG-13)

Directed by: Donald Petrie
Starring: Gene Hackman
February 2004

“Welcome to Mediocre Entertainment”

I don’t know what’s more amazing, the fact that this movie has a stellar cast or that a stellar cast would agree to do this movie. And stellar is no understatement. Movie stalwarts Gene Hackman (
Runaway Jury) and Marcia Gay Harden (Mystic River) add their talents to the film, but seem out of place amid such pedestrian fare. Television hacks, Ray Romano (Everyone Loves Raymond), Maura Tierney (ER), Christine Baranski (Cybil) and Fred Savage (The Wonder Years) round out the cast, but there’s no stand out performance—here is a solid group of actors who desperately try to give weight to their roles but can’t because of the poorly written…

The scenario of a newly retired president of the United States running for mayor against the local plumber in a sleepy burg in Maine is just about as far-fetched as they come. Did the writers stop to answer the “Who cares?” question before they attacked their keyboards? Of course not! The only story element that gives
Welcome to Mooseport any spice is the jealousy factor. Ex-president, Monroe “Eagle” Cole (Hackman) asks out Sally Mannis (Tierney) who is dating Handy Harrison (Romano). Sally is waiting for Handy to get the gumption to ask her to marry him, so she spites Handy and accepts the dinner invitation with Monroe. Now Monroe and Handy are fighting for the same office and the same woman. The date between Monroe and Sally also elicits jealousy from Monroe’s assistant (Harden), who has secretly admired the ex-pres. for years. In the end, Handy proposes to Sally and Monroe and his assistant hook up. And, with the exception of a thinly veiled election twist, that’s the extent of the plot.

Final Analysis:
Welcome to Mooseport tries to be funny, but isn’t. This is Ray Romano’s big screen debut and with a performance like this, he should stick to the small screen where he has great comedic success. The movie screams “low budget”…there are very few sets and the characters never leave the stifling confines of Mooseport. It’s too bad the story couldn’t support the caliber of actors it features and that its writers couldn’t come up with something more original and engaging.

Rating: 2