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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Penelope Ann Miller,
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Bradley R. Swirnoff
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
Show-business trade papers "Daily Variety" and "The Hollywood Reporter" erroneously reported that this picture was the feature film debut of Nell Carter and Brian Doyle-Murray, but the two had appeared in earlier movies. Carter appeared in Hair (1979) and Back Roads (1981), and Doyle-Murray appeared in Fuzz (1972) and Caddyshack (1980). See more »
When Mark (and later Mark and Darcy) are on the beach, the camera tracks can be seen in the foreground. See more »
Now, we can do this easy, or we can do it rough. These is knuckles you is looking at.
[in demonic voice]
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Alternate takes (without audio) are shown of the main characters during the end credits. See more »
Being a Chevy Chase fan I might cut this one a little more slack, but even so there's no denying there's more cold side-effects than are hot ones in this early, but quite minor leading Chase vehicle (which two years later the very successful and iconic 'Vacation' would follow).
Coming from the feature is a cruel, rude and mean-spirited vibe (which was done better in Martin Scorsese's 1985 dark comedy 'After Hours') that sees Chase in quite a dreary cloud of sappiness and finding himself in one degrading mishap after another and to cap it off his girlfriend has just left him because of his clingy nature. One night while driving his car behind a truck, the context in the tanker (nuclear waste) ends up on him giving the abilities of telekinesis and a nice green glow. He then begins use this power in ridding any sort of obstacles that get in the way of reuniting with his ex-girlfriend (which is beautifully played by Patti D'Arbanville).
With a better script (which includes plenty of sexual innuendo), it could have been so much more, but while the cast (featuring Dabney Coleman, Nell Carter, Mary Kay Place and Brian Doyle-Murray) do the best. The one-joke script lets them down. The humour is mainly off the mark, as it never rises above the superfluous material and characters are not particularly engaging (especially Chase's loathsome character). It's a story were the humour contributes, rather than just being there for the sake of it, however it's a awkward mess of staged ideas and plastered visual gags. The special effects are modest, pacing is flat, style seems bland and the film looks quite murky. There's a real lack of passion, but director Ken Shapiro is saved by a few amusing (brisk, but enjoyable) comedic inclusions. But in the end these peculiar touches just weren't enough.
Far from a laugh-riot with a little too much dead space, but 'Modern Problems' remains barely a passable throwaway.
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