Welcome to Mooseport
|Welcome to Mooseport|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Donald Petrie|
|Produced by||Moritz Borman|
|Screenplay by||Tom Schulman|
|Story by||Doug Richardson|
|Music by||John Debney|
|Edited by||Debra Neil-Fisher|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$14.6 million|
Welcome to Mooseport is a 2004 American-German romantic comedy film directed by Donald Petrie and starring Ray Romano, in his first full-length live-action film, and Gene Hackman, in his final film appearance to date. It was filmed in Jackson's Point, Ontario and Port Perry, Ontario.
Former President of the United States Monroe "Eagle" Cole retires to his vacation home in the town of Mooseport, Maine to escape from his ex-wife Charlotte. Harold "Handy" Harrison is a commoner working as the local plumber of Mooseport, who also owns a hardware store.
Following the death of the town mayor, the town council decides to approach former president Cole about running for the office. Cole agrees because, as it turns out, if he holds the office, his Mooseport house can serve as his office and, therefore, can no longer be divided up or sold off in his divorce settlement. As a surprise to Harrison, his name has also been entered into the race. When Harrison finds out Cole is running, he decides to withdraw, until he witnesses Cole make a pass at Handy's girlfriend of six years, veterinarian Dr. Sally Mannis, who recently broke up with him because he was taking the relationship too slow and had not yet proposed marriage to her. Handy believes that, by becoming mayor, he can show Sally he is a mature decision maker and win her heart.
Tempers rise following the arrival of ex-wife and Cole campaign spoiler Charlotte. Cole's team, led by long-time executive secretary and love interest Grace Sutherland and presidential aide Will Bullard, bring in strong support in the form of campaign strategist Bert Langdon, who becomes Cole's campaign manager as he complains of a dull existence since Cole retired from the presidency. As the campaigns progress, Cole and Harrison both become obsessed with winning the race at all costs, although Harrison refuses to resort to any cheating schemes, making Cole realize that in all his years of running for elections this may be the hardest as he is taking on an honest everyman.
Eventually, on the night before the election, both candidates (for different reasons - Cole trying to get sympathy votes, Harrison wanting the campaign to end and believes Cole would be a better mayor than him) urge the voters to vote for the other candidate by saying that neither of them will vote for themselves. Harrison keeps his promise, but Cole votes for himself anyway. Upon the revelation that Cole won by one vote, his conscience gets the better of him and he concedes the match to Harrison. However, Harrison lies that he voted for himself as well, and declines office, making Cole end up as mayor once again. Harrison later reveals to Sally that he conceded the election because Cole needs the mayorship more than he does and that all he really wanted was to propose marriage to her, which he does. As Handy is proposing to Sally, Monroe also proposes to Grace. The film ends with Bert Langdon telling Handy that he ran an excellent campaign and offers to be his campaign manager for Governor of Maine, which Handy shows some interest in when he realizes a governor has certain authority over mayors.
- Ray Romano as Harold "Handy" Harrison
- Gene Hackman as Monroe "Eagle" Cole
- Marcia Gay Harden as Grace Sutherland
- Maura Tierney as Dr. Sally Mannis
- Fred Savage as Will Bullard
- Rip Torn as Bert Langdon
- Christine Baranski as Charlotte Cole
- Wayne Robson as Morris Gutman
- Reagan Pasternak as Mandy Gutman
- June Squibb as Irma
- John Rothman as Stu
- Jayne Eastwood as Lucy Decker
- Juan "Chi-Chi" Rodriguez as himself
- Richard Romano as Handy's bar buddy
- Jon Manfrellotti as Reporter
- Edward Herrmann (uncredited) as Avery Hightower
Welcome to Mooseport opened theatrically on February 20, 2004, in 2,868 venues, earning $6,775,132 and ranking fourth in the domestic box office. The film ended its run twelve weeks later on May 13, 2004, having grossed $14,470,947 domestically and $144,152 overseas, for a worldwide total of $14,615,099. Based on a $30 million budget, the film was a box office bomb.
The film received generally negative reviews from critics. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a 13% score, based on 144 critics, with an average rating of 4.2/10. The site's consensus states: "A bland comedy that squanders a talented cast." On Metacritic, the film holds a 33 out of 100 rating, based on 36 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying that although Welcome to Mooseport "starts out with a terrific premise", it is "nothing more than a sturdy building block, and, in this case, the filmmakers have employed the shoddiest construction crew imaginable. Welcome to Mooseport's satirical edge is dull and pitted, the screenplay is overlong and uninteresting, the comedy is soft and shapeless, and the actors perform like they're on a sit com." Berardinelli also noted that Romanos "low-key, sadsack style may work in the comfy confines of "Everyone Loves Raymond," but, in Welcome to Mooseport, it leaves the audience cold."
William Arnold of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer complimented Hackman's "detailed, delightful, comic performance that never quite disintegrates into caricature", but wrote that "the quality of the writing is nowhere near the standard of Hackman's performance, and the movie around him (...) too often substitutes sight gags involving geriatric nudity and fornicating canines for wit." In addition, Arnold felt that Ray Romano "just doesn't have the stuff to bring off a role that requires a Jimmy Stewart or Tom Hanks. He's supposed to be overshadowed by his nemesis, of course, but Hackman chews him up and spits him out so effectively that the movie is glaringly lopsided."
However, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film three out of four stars, writing: "Whether the movie works or not depends on the charm of the actors. Hackman could charm the chrome off a trailer hitch. Romano is more of the earnest, aw-shucks, sincere, well-meaning kind of guy whose charm is inner and only peeks out occasionally. They work well together here, and Tierney does a heroic job of playing a character who doesn't know how the story will end, when everybody else, in the cast and in the audience, has an excellent idea."
- "WELCOME TO MOOSEPORT (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. March 4, 2004. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
- "Welcome to Mooseport (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. May 13, 2004. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for February 20-22, 2004". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. February 23, 2004. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
- "Welcome to Mooseport (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
- "Welcome to Mooseport reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 21, 2016.
- Berardinelli, James. "Welcome to Mooseport". ReelViews. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
- Arnold, William. "Hackman shreds Romano's performance in cheesy 'Mooseport'". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
- Ebert, Roger. "Welcome to Mooseport". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 13, 2017.