Welcome to Mooseport Reviews
Why do I bring this story up? Because Welcome To Mooseport induced similar levels of pain. This film was so wretched, so horribly unfunny, so awkward, and so painfully lazy and stupid that it actually caused me physical pain to watch it. It's one of the most agonizing, horrible film-watching experiences I've ever had and easily ranks among the twenty worst films I have ever seen.
I will go to my grave cursing this film and its existence. I am filled with seething contempt for it with every fiber of my being.
The story revolves around the town of Mooseport, a small, idyllic, thoroughly cliched town which in the midst of an upcoming election for mayor.
The focus falls on two characters: One is handyman, Harold (Also known as Handy) Harrison, who is a bumbling idiot plumber of sorts whose long-time girlfriend, Sally, has broken up with him after not proposing marriage after so long.
The second is former president, Monroe "Eagle" Cole, who has just left office with very high approval ratings looking to retire to his vacation home in Mooseport.
Despite having left office with such high approval ratings, some things in Monroe's life aren't going so well, as he in the midst of a divorce and his ex-wife is looking to attain his various assets in the divorce proceedings, much to his chagrin.
Seeing as he is a popular president, the town council approaches Monroe about running for office, which he is reluctant to do since he just finished his presidential term. But, as his aides explain to him, if he runs for mayor, his vacation home can serve as his office and can't be obtained by his ex-wife in the divorce proceedings.
Seeing this opportunity, as well as sort of ego boost to be both a popular president and a popular mayor, he decides to go for it.
Meanwhile, Handy's name has been put up as a candidate for mayor unbeknownst to him, which at first decides not to go for, seeing as his rival is a former president, but when Monroe flirts with Sally, Handy decides to run for mayor to win her back.
Soon, wacky election shenanigans take place as the two battle it out, complete with all sorts of scenarios like Monroe's ex-wife helping out Handy to humiliate Monroe, Monroe's true feelings for his executive secretary/aide, Grace, start to form, blah, blah, blah. Cliches abound, to cut this summary shorter. You know what's going to happen like clockwork, for there is not an original bone in this film's body.
The story, despite its cliches, sounds fairly promising with all the makings of a screwball comedy with romance and political discussions sprinkled about. In fact, the plot feels like its trying to invoke screwball comedies of the 30's and 40's.
However, this plot can't even begin to compare to those classic films it so desperately wants to emulate. It doesn't even earn the right to kneel before the altars of those comedy greats. It is a complete and utter failure - one of the biggest blights on comedy of the century (Which is pretty damn impressive considering the sheer number of shitty comedies this century has inflicted upon the masses less than twenty years in).
The plot is so poorly written, that it would have trouble sustaining a 22-minute episode of a shitty sitcom, yet it has the gall to clock in at nearly 2-fucking-hours.
There are no real characters. There's no interesting development. There are no interesting discussions about politics. Nothing interesting or feel-good about romance. Not a single joke feels timed or written right. Nothing works. There is nothing to latch onto - not as an intelligent comedy, not as a stupid-fun comedy - NOTHING. It will leave the viewer dead in the water.
The plot isn't even assembly line generic. It's below even the bargain bin version of assembly line generic films. It's the rejected bargain bin version of assembly line generic - with its rotting corpse fished out of a dumpster.
The acting? Oh God, the acting.
If this were a screwball comedy of the 30's or 40's, it would have been great. I would picture it being directed by say, Frank Capra, George Cukor, or Howard Hawks. It would be written by Donald Ogden Stewart, Ruth Gordon, or Garson Kanin.
In the Gene Hackman role, I would imagine it to be played by someone like Spencer Tracy, or perhaps Lionel Barrymore. In the Ray Romano role, I would imagine James Stewart or Cary Grant. The love interests, oh, so many choices...Katharine Hepburn, Rosalind Russell, Margaret Sullavan, Jean Harlow - take any pick of an actress you enjoy from those decades. The ex-wife? Heh, heh...Bette Davis, no question. Oh, to dream of how this premise could have worked. If it had been made and starred these Hollywood greats, it would have been one of the best damn films ever. But, we can't have everything we want.
Instead, we get this abomination of acting, even from distinguished stars.
Gene Hackman delivers a career-worst performance, which is a hell of a way to go out as this was his last film. I suppose it's karmic retribution for all his shitty behaviors on the sets of various films he worked on (For example: The Royal Tenenbaums), but still, it's rather sad to see an accomplished actor end their acting career on something that is not only bad, but something so utterly horrible and brain-dead.
Ray Romano can play a charming doofus. Though it's been a number of years, I remember liking Everybody Loves Raymond and he proved himself to be a decent actor, and Ice Age (First one. I can't comment on the sequels) was also a decent showing of his acting capabilities. Even he isn't spared despite the character he plays. He, too, delivers a career-worst performance, for he is not charming or likable. He just comes across as painfully awkward.
Though there are other stars, including the career thrashing of award-winning Marcia Gay Harden, nobody else is worth mentioning - not even Harden, for she is thrown to the side of the film's plot as the disposable love interest/aide of Monroe. There is nothing for her here. Oh, it's also got Rip Torn. Despite the presence some rather established stars, this film wastes them so badly that I barely recall them even being in the damn thing because it's so lazy and uninspired.
The humor in this film is nothing short of utter failure. I did not laugh once. I didn't even so much as slightly chuckle. So painful was this film's humor that while watching it, I threw myself to the floor to bang my head on the floor. Big mistake, for the humor was so awful, it left me on the floor as if I was receiving a beating from the film. I just lay there, staring up at the TV, hating it, loathing it. When I attempted to get up, I would pick up the box on the coffee table, only to angrily throw it whenever I looked upon Roger Ebert's endorsement of the film ("Thumbs up. A very good time." BULL. FUCKING. SHIT). I would then fall back to the floor, enduring the agony of what was destined to become one of the worst films I had ever seen, hoping that it would either end soon or that I would die.
When the comedy fails in a comedy, what else is there to be entertained by? It's not like say, Showgirls, which despite being utterly awful, it became entertaining because of how bad it was. All other film genres have this luxury: if they fail at their intended purpose, there might at least be a chance of salvaging it on the basis of unintentional comedy. But when a comedy fails at being funny, there's nothing to fall back on - nothing to salvage. Welcome To Mooseport is a particularly painful example of this kind of botch.
Welcome To Mooseport is one of the worst films I have ever seen. It's not only bad, but it's physically painful to watch. It's one of those bad films that has changed me and helped me really understand the meaning of a truly bad film. Whenever people ramble on about the latest Michael Bay blockbuster, Roland Emmerich film, Uwe Boll B-movie crapfest, or whoever's film is the "WORST MOVIE EVER!!!", I am envious of their naivety. That have not experienced the film-watching horrors that I have endured. They have no idea how far the rabbit hole of shitty films really goes. This film is one of the horrors of taking the ill-advised journey down that rabbit hole just to see how far down it really goes.
Don't do it, people. You won't come out the same person.
With a film like Welcome to Mooseport, you kind of have to ask yourself the question "what is the point?" It's hard to sit down in front of the film and more challenging to actually keep on watching because it is so inane and directionless that it gets way too tedious too fast.
Usually, a bad comedy films has jokes that it attempts to tell and can be either hit and miss or so stupid that they are unintentionally funny. With Welcome to Mooseport, I kept on asking myself the question "where are the jokes?" because there don't seem to be any. Welcome to Mooseport is supposed to be a comedy, but its premise is not funny and it does not have jokes that are easy to find without an airport radar. Since the plot of Welcome to Mooseport is so utterly predictable, viewers would hope for some fun in the gimmicks. Here, the film is so utterly terrible and boring that I wonder if the filmmakers were actually trying.
Welcome to Mooseport is clearly nothing more than an attempt to capitalise on Ray Romano's fame from Everybody Loves Raymond and Gene Hackman's legacy as a two-time Academy Award winning actor, but it does nothing for them at all and just degrades their talents with a lacklustre script and the inexperienced direction of Donald Petrie. Unlike in previous cases such as Miss Congeniality however, in Welcome to Mooseport he doesn't even allow the right material for the actors to let themselves flourish on their own. Consider this: Welcome to Mooseport not only lost about $16 million at box office which is more than half of its budget, but it drove Gene Hackman into retirement. If a two-time Academy Award winning actor has to end up starring in films that are actually this poor, then it is a smart move to call it quits and so that is exactly what Gene Hackman did. But who knows what else he could have done if Welcome to Mooseport didn't drive him to retirement. Donald Petrie put an end to Gene Hackman's career with Welcome to Mooseport, and although he retires with a lot of high merits, Welcome to Mooseport is not a good way for him to go out. Welcome to Mooseport capitalises on none of Gene Hackman's talents, neither comedically or dramatically, and it is just pathetic.
There is not a single time in Welcome to Mooseport that I laughed, and not even a time that I cringed. Welcome to Mooseport was so bad that I did not feel anything but boredom and could not make it to the end. But considering that it was clear Welcome to Mooseport was following a formula, it isn't hard to predict how it would have come out. Welcome to Mooseport has no surprises in it, and although I didn't expect any, I at least expected it to attempt to tell a joke or two. It just did not even bother to try, so the script in Welcome to Mooseport is the main source of all the problems.
Ray Romano uses his natural comedic persona in Welcome to Mooseport, but it just isn't that funny. While fans of his long running stint on the hit sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond may find some fun in it, fans of entertaining or funny films have thousands of better places to look. If you actually try looking in Welcome to Mooseport, it will be like a game of Where's Wally that isn't any fun whatsoever.
Seriously, Welcome to Mooseport barely ever makes an attempt at telling a joke and in scenes where it seems like it might be, there is no way to be certain because the material is not the slightest bit funny, and the only way viewers are going to remember it is because of the way that it just wastes the talents of its skilful leading actors and wastes the time of viewers on material that ended up driving Gene Hackman into retirement. So all in all, it is just way too goddamned boring for its own good and lacking in any originality whatsoever. The only nice aspect of the film is the scenery of the titular town Mooseport.
But still, Welcome to Mooseport refuses to actually let viewers feel welcome whatsoever because it has no jokes in its script and it is too derivative to have any real entertainment value, leaving it to be nothing more than a waste of the talents of sitcom star Ray Romano and two-time Academy Award winning actor Gene Hackman.