Welcome to Mooseport 

(PG-13) 2 1/2 stars

(PG-13) 2 1/2 stars
Maura Tierney is the best and worst thing about Welcome to Mooseport. Best because she has a radiant presence and she establishes a character that is bright, sexy and sensible, while remaining spontaneous and fun loving. Worst because her performance makes the routine work by other cast members all the more glaring and the many stereotypical roles all the more annoying. A veteran of the underappreciated sitcom gem NewsRadio, Tierney currently stars as Abby on ER. She deserves better than that. Or this. And now I will close this meeting of the Maura Tierney fan club (did I mention that her eyes are gorgeous, she has a great crinkly smile and her hair is really sexy?) and review the movie. Welcome to Mooseport should’ve been a knockout comedy. It was created by a talented group of people and God knows there are plenty of skilled actors in the cast. But all we get is an overblown sitcom, and not a particularly funny one. Sure, it’s generally pleasant, but do you want pay $8-$9 for a pleasant sitcom? Note that I said generally pleasant. Too many times, the filmmakers portray the citizens of the small Maine town as yokels and I’m sick of that kind of lazy, insulting writing. The set-up goes like this: After finishing his second term, off-the-charts popular President Monroe “Eagle” Cole (Gene Hackman), the first commander-in-chief to get divorced while in office, moves into his summer place in the small New England town of Mooseport with his full entourage in tow. Soon after, the town elders ask him to fill the void left by a death of the mayor by agreeing to run for the position (there are no opposing candidates). He accepts the offer, partly for ego and the public relations value, but mostly because being mayor would protect his Mooseport estate from the clutches of his vindictive ex-wife (Christine Baranski). But President Monroe makes the mistake of asking out veterinarian Sally Mannis (Tierney), which honks off her commitment-phobic boyfriend, plumber Handy Harrison (Ray Romano), who then signs up to run against him. Cue the media circus. Pretty good premise, but the execution is straight out of primetime TV. The script has some amusing moments (loved Ed Fielding as an elderly naked jogger accepted by all), but not enough. The presence of numerous actors playing familiar roles also hurts. Gene Hackman as a slick president — seen it. Ray Romano as an affable regular guy — seen it. Christine Baranski as a shrew — seen it. Marcia Gay Harden as a devoted helper — seen it. The list goes on: Fred Savage from Working as an obsequious PR man, Rip Torn from The Larry Sanders Show as a thunderous campaign manager. How terribly safe. Thank goodness that Maura Tierney juices things up. Ray Romano, talking about Welcome to Mooseport to Time magazine, said, “It’s a good movie, but it’s not knockdown funny. It wound up being more of a sweet movie.” “Not knockdown funny?” Yep. “A sweet movie?” Sure. “Good?” You’re pushing it, Ray.

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