Monroe "Eagle" Cole is a former U.S. President ready to settle into a quaint little town named Mooseport. He's ready to take in the lion's share of endorsement deals and speaking engagements while developing his own presidential library. Meanwhile, Handy Harrison is a local hardware store owner with a girlfriend ready to throw in the towel on their relationship. Just as Monroe is offered the local mayor's position, he's found an unlikely opponent in Handy. But ultimately, both men have a lot to lose when the stakes are raised and a simple competition turns into an all out war. Written by
"Hail to the Chief," played at the reception for Monroe Cole, should never be played for anyone except the current president and is inappropriate in that situation. Correct protocol dictates that "The Star-Spangled Banner" should be played as the proper salutation for former presidents. See more »
It lacks a satirical bite, which would have made the movie more relevant and interesting, but Welcome to Mooseport is an enjoyable comedy anyway. Ray Romano stars, and he proves himself to be quite an excellent comedian on the big screen. Of course, the role isn't that much different from his character on Everybody Loves Raymond, but it's not at all bad to go with what you know. It's worked with any number of comedians in the past, and it should work with Romano. Unfortunately, the movie tanked at the box office and was not liked much by the audiences who did see it. That really surprises me. Gene Hackman co-stars as the former President of the US, Monroe Cole. He is moving to the small Maine town of Mooseport, and some of the citizens persuade him to run for mayor. Unfortunately, others have also persuaded one of the town's upstanding citizens, the hardware store manager, Handy (Romano), to run. Handy is more than willing to drop out (he doesn't care much and doesn't doubt that the ex-President will trounce him), but when Cole unknowingly hits on Handy's girlfriend (Maura Tierney), the war is on. The film could have gone any number of ways at this point, and I expected it to become mean-spirited. But it doesn't. Cole is an egomaniac, which isn't shocking considering his life, and Handy is an extraordinarily nice guy. A little stupid, especially when it comes to his relationship, but he's the guy you'd like to have as a friend. The funniest sequence involves a golf game between the two candidates. There is one piece of this that is just a great example of montage and comic timing. The movie is sweet without getting too sappy. Yet the movie really squanders a lot of opportunities. This could have been a great political satire, and we need one right now. Its worst crime is hiring a cast that is more talented than it needs to be, thus wasting a lot of people in roles that are beneath them, and likely wasting a ton of money because of it. Marcia Gay Harden, one of the hardest working actresses in Hollywood today, and one of the best, is decent as one of the President's handlers. Rip Torn is a dirty campaign manager. Maura Tierney, so very good on the television show News Radio, doesn't have anything to do. Fred Savage, for God's sake, has most of the funniest moments outside of Romano's presence. Whatever complaints I have, I was always enjoying the movie. It's well worth seeing, and it is a must-see for fans of Romano. 7/10.
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