The story of two Mumfords - one a small town, the other a man. Mumford, the town, is full of people with problems, from a teenage girl who is unhappy with her looks to a local billionaire, "the king of modems", who would trade everything away if he could. So when Micky Mumford, the man, turns out to be a psychologist with slightly unusual methods he soon finds a spot in people's heart as someone to whom they can tell their secrets. But Micky too has a secret, and that one's about to hunt him down.Written by
Dr. Mickey Mumford (Loren Dean) is a psychologist who ironically lives and works in the town of Mumford. Among his clientele are local chemist Henry Follett (Pruitt Taylor Vince) whose tasteful sexual fantasies have ruined his marriage, image-obsessed teen Nessa Watkins (Zooey Deschanel), kleptomaniac house-wife Althea Brockett (Mary McDonnell) and lonely billionaire Skip Skipperton (Jason Lee), whose electronics business keeps the town afloat. Mickey Mumford and his highly unorthodox techniques are extremely successful, but things begin to change and get complicated when he takes Sofie Crisp (Hope Davis) on board as a client and falls in love with her, while trying to cure her sleep deprivation.
'Mumford', written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan (The Bodyguard, The Big Chill) is a surprisingly great film. Really, this is just a very well-told story. Dr. Mumford's curious cases pull the film along, but those fragmented stories really wouldn't have been enough for 99 minutes so when the film's big twist comes mid-way, it's a smooth transition from examining Mumford's patients and their crises to watching the problems of the doctor himself, and the way's he tries to deal with them.
Loren Dean, while not the typically charismatic protagonist, is oddly interesting as the humble and odd psychologist; and really does communicate a very relaxed persona, making it easy to see why people feel the need to confide in him. Zooey Deschanel is a great little secondary character, totally at ease and entertaining in her role as the off-beat misfit. My one complaint may be that the love story between Dr. Mumford and his patient Sofie isn't executed very well; there really isn't enough screen time given to the development of their budding feelings, and in fact most of their realizations about their feelings for one another come either off-screen or are explored individually, like when Dr. Mumford talks about his feelings for Sofie with patient and friend Skip Skipperton. Furthermore, there isn't much chemistry between Loren Dean and Hope Davis. Between Davis's sleep-deprived, baggy-eyed divorcée, Sofie and Dean's stony-calm Dr. Mumford; the romance is lackluster, at best. The film is only 99 minutes long, and I wish it was longer with more emphasis and development on the Dean/Davis romance.
I really enjoyed this film and was very glad I found it while looking through Zooey Deschanel's filmography. It's just a shame not more people know about it.
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