Thursday, February 19, 2004

Campaign and suffering

Movie: Welcome to Mooseport

Posted on Thu, Feb 19, 2004 at 4:00 AM

**
Our Rating: 2.00

Freed from the small-screen confines of "Everybody Loves Raymond," Ray Romano busts out into ... a bad episode of "Newhart." Tepid small-town quirks and colorless "colorful" characters dot this high-concept misfire, in which plumber Handy Harrison's (Romano) candidacy for mayor of his Maine burg pits him against a popular former president of the United States (Gene Hackman). Though the potential for satire is limitless, the movie throws softball after softball, devoting an inordinate amount of attention to a silly romantic rivalry between the two men, with Handy's ring-hungry girlfriend (Maura Tierney) as the prize. Amid the aw-shucks wooing and general-store tomfoolery, we don't even get to see Handy's recruitment for the mayoral race, a scene one might reasonably consider pivotal. And that's not even mentioning the catastrophic absence of Larry, Daryl and Daryl.

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