Modern Problems

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Modern Problems
Modern Problems Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKen Shapiro
Produced byAlan Greisman
Michael Shamberg
Written byKen Shapiro
Tom Sherohman
Arthur Sellers
Music byDominic Frontiere
CinematographyEdmond L. Koons
Edited byMichael Jablow
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • December 25, 1981 (1981-12-25)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$8 million[1]
Box office$26,154,211

Modern Problems is a 1981 American fantasy comedy film written and directed by Ken Shapiro and starring Chevy Chase, Patti D'Arbanville and Dabney Coleman. The film grossed $26.2 million in the United States. A DVD release of the film was issued in 2005.


Max Fiedler is an air traffic controller at New York's Kennedy Intl. Airport whose life is slowly going down the drain. His girlfriend, Darcy, has just left him because of his jealousy and negativity. Now, everywhere he goes he seems to run into her with Barry, her old friend, which drives Max crazy. One night while he's driving home from a party at a gay nightclub in Lower Manhattan, a tanker truck spills nuclear waste onto his car and through his open sunroof, covering him with glowing green goo. The next day, he notices that he has developed telekinetic powers. With this newfound discovery, Max decides to put his powers to use by striking back at his tormentors to win back the love of Darcy.

He is asked to spend the weekend at the summer beach house of Brian, a paraplegic friend, who has also invited some other friends, including Max's ex-wife Lorraine as well as his ex-girlfriend, plus self-confidence author and womanizer Mark Winslow who has designs on Darcy. Winslow constantly demeans and derides Max, while trying to seduce Darcy (although his egomanical bragging and unabashed nudity just seem to alienate her).

Max gets his revenge by using his powers to humiliate his rival, meanwhile freaking out the other guests. Finally, he sees himself becoming a monster, and by a fortuitous stroke of lightning his powers are transferred to Dorita, the voodoo-practicing maid. Max's girlfriend forgives him and he realizes that she truly does love him.


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