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Modern Problems (1981)

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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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1 nomination. See more awards »

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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's budget of approximately US $8 million was about twenty times larger than the budget of director Ken Shapiro's earlier and only ever other movie, The Groove Tube (1974), which had been around US $400,000. See more »

Goofs

When Max parks his car after coming home from work it's dusk. When he is keying into the door it's more like high noon through the doors and windows. See more »

Quotes

Max Fielder: I'm starting to see things move in thin air. Like this morning, I think I caused Darcy's coffee cup to slide across the table and crash. And then everything around was shaking and quaking...
Brian Stills: You trashed the place 'cause you're mad at this Daisy chick, right?
Max Fielder: No, no, Brian, I did it but I didn't touch anything.
Brian Stills: Look, we all think we got some monster inside us that's ready to explode any minute. You break things. I masturbate, so what? Same difference.
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

Gonna Get It Next Time
Performed by The Tubes
Arranged and produced by David Foster
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Lyrics by Adrienne Anderson
Music by Dominic Frontiere
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Quirky '80s comedy hasn't aged well...
6 February 2011 | by (New Jersey, USA) – See all my reviews

"Modern Problems" was one of those movies that got a lot of play on HBO when I was a kid in the early 80s, and since I was a big Chevy Chase fan at the time, I watched it over and over again. Nearly 30 years later, the film had all but faded from my memory except for a few random bits so when it turned up on Fox Movie Channel over the weekend I decided to give it a shot.

90 minutes later I'm sitting here thinking to myself "Wow, this was pretty bad wasn't it?", and I'm not sure if the film hadn't aged well, or if it simply wasn't a very good film to begin with. All I can say is that I remember enjoying it a heck of a lot more as an easier-to-impress 12 year old.

Chase plays Max, a stressed out Air Traffic Controller who's got serious relationship problems. He's recently broken up with his live-in girlfriend, and his ex-wife (Mary Kay Place), whom he apparently has kept a friendly relationship with, is now "schtupping" (that's an exact quote) an old friend of his from high school (Brian Doyle-Murray, aka Bill's brother). As if that weren't enough, a chance meeting with a leaky Nuclear Waste truck on the highway one night splatters him with radioactive goo, and he wakes up the next morning with telekinetic powers.

You'd think that this would be a license to do a totally go-for-broke slapstick comedy but oddly enough very little is made of Max's newfound abilities till the film is almost over. Chase isn't his usual wild-and-wacky self either, preferring to mope around mooning over his girlfriend (Patti D'Arbanville). Eventually the dysfunctional foursome (Chase, D'arbanville, Doyle-Murray, and Place) go off to Murray's beach house to spend the weekend, joined by one of Murray's clients, an insufferable self-help author played by Dabney Coleman. Coleman is the funniest thing in the film, as his constant jabs and insults finally poke Chase's character into a full on telekinetic meltdown that can only be stopped by a voodoo ritual (?) performed by Murray's Haitian housekeeper (Nell Carter).

"Modern Problems" tries to be quirky and wacky but spends most of the film falling flat on its face. It's got a decent cast and an interesting premise, but its greatest sin is that it casts a gifted comic like Chase and then tells him to be morose and unfunny for much of the run time (till he finally explodes towards the end).

There are a few good bits (Chase using his power to give a guy a massive nosebleed in the middle of a swanky restaurant is a highlight, as is the entire "voodoo" scene) but otherwise "Modern Problems" isn't very "modern" anymore. Easily skippable even for hardcore Chevy Chase fans.


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