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Modern Problems (1981)

4.9
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Ratings: 4.9/10 from 3,513 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 8 critic

Jealous, harried air traffic controller Max Fiedler, recently dumped by his girlfriend, comes into contact with nuclear waste and is granted the power of telekinesis, which he uses not only to win her back, but to gain a little revenge.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Mitch Kreindel ...
Barry
Arthur Sellers ...
Mobile Supervisor
...
Pete
Neil Thompson ...
Controller #1
...
Controller #2
Ronald E. House ...
Vendor (as Ron House)
Buzzy Linhart ...
The Tile Man
...
Dubrovnik
Christine Nazareth ...
Redhead
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Storyline

Air traffic controller Max Fiedler is unhappy with his career and his second marriage. An exposure to toxic waste gives him the power of telekinesis. He comes to a crossroads at a beachhouse he shares with his wife, his ex, and a voodoo priestess. Written by <rth@ece.arizona.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Max Fielder has just discovered the power of telekinesis, and he's about to move your world. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 December 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Doido por Ela  »

Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The screenplay for the movie was written aboard Ken Shapiro's English double-decker bus whilst on a Summer Holiday (1963)-like jaunt with friends. See more »

Goofs

During the "Exorcist" scene, the piece of flower vase on Max's head shifts between shots. See more »

Quotes

Darcy: Max, please, what is the matter with you lately? I was kidding.
Max Fielder: Look at my face. I can't go to dinner like this. Look.
Darcy: Your face looks fine.
Max Fielder: I'm not going. I'm staying up here.
Darcy: Max. Max, you promised me that you would try to relax and be close to me this weekend.
Max Fielder: You were only kidding?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Alternate takes (without audio) are shown of the main characters during the end credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bruce Almighty (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Excerpts from the ballet 'Coppelia'
Music by Léo Delibes
See more »

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User Reviews

Has it's moments, but glaring errors drag it down....
3 August 2000 | by (Chattanooga, Tennessee) – See all my reviews

First of all, it is worth nothing that director Ken Shapiro seemingly hasn't been employed since this near-catastrophe was released in 1981. It's pretty safe to say that's a bad sign. Secondly, even a stellar cast cannot make a movie very good (what I like to call "Mars Attacks!" syndrome). Now that I have gotten that out of the way, a quick synopsis : Chevy Chase (that in itself is a bad sign) stars as an air traffic controller who, after an encounter with nuclear waste, acquires telekinetic powers, which he uses against his romantic rivals. The premise in itself is engaging and open to the possibility of great comedy. So what happened?

Well, Ken Shapiro could be blamed. The direction is sloppy; actually it is downright pathetic. The pacing is WAY too slow, the action is ineptly handled, and many of the actors seem bored. And worst of all, the special effects are woeful...I haven't seen so much camera equipment on-screen since the glory days of Ed Wood. Case in point...the scene with the Flying-Airplane-Ashtray (don't ask), where some strange, large object is obviously present in the close-ups, holding up the Ashtray next to the camera. I've made home movies with better effects.

What about the actors? Well, Nell Carter is an absolute hoot; she deserves better. And Dabney Coleman is entirely in his element here as a shady, egotistical author. Brian Doyle Murray and Mary Kay Place are also entertaining. Patti D'Arbanville is a bit lacking in comedic talent; she is given nothing more to do than pout and screech. But the real problem here is Chase. He is just going through the motions here, playing the hapless bumbler bit to death and looking very bored doing it. There is no life to his performance, and it grinds the movie to a halt.

True, there are some funny moments here...Nell Carter gets most of the laughs in a woefully small role, the scenes involving Chase's romantic rival Barry (Mitch Kreindel) are pretty amusing, and one reviewer here has already mentioned Chase's throwaway line "Smells like feet," which for some reason made me laugh hysterically...but the funny moments are few and far between. There is so much BAD to sort through to get to the GOOD stuff, and it just isn't worth the time and trouble. Perhaps in better hands, "Modern Problems" could have been a good movie. This certainly isn't it.


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