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Overall Rating

Awesome: 10.77%
Worth A Look47.69%
Average: 21.54%
Pretty Bad: 4.62%
Total Crap: 15.38%

6 reviews, 29 user ratings

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by Scott Weinberg

"Slight, but a lot of fun characters and relationships."
4 stars

For those who can enjoy a movie about some regular folks, enjoying actual conversations and somewhat realistic problems. Not to be mistaken for any movie that has a gun in it.

A common complaint with most movie lovers is that not enough time is spent on plot. Occasionally, however, plot is an unnecessary hindrance, something that may detract from the characters themselves. A good example of this is Lawrence Kasdanís Mumford. He has proven in the past that he can create layered and realistic people in movies like The Big Chill and Grand Canyon, and his latest is another such example. This is a light, colorful film and it offers a wide variety of funny, neurotic and likable characters. The pleasure of Mumford is watching these people collide off one another and see where everyone ends up. (Itís nice to see characters discussing those that arenít onscreen at the time.) It achieves because, although some of it is relatively predictable, you donít really mind if youíve seen some of it before.

Loren Dean plays Doc Mumford, the new psychologist in town. His practice is booming, seemingly thanks to his low-key, listen-first approach. Doc Mumford begins seeing a sexually repressed pharmacist (Pruitt Talyor Vince), a seemingly obsessive teenager (Zooey Deschanel), a shopping-obsessed housewife (Mary McDonnell) and of course, the local wacky billionaire computer genius (Jason Lee). He allows these patients to talk themselves around, as he watches, bemused. His theory is that their problems are fairly self-evident, and often self-caused. He begins to feel different when he begins seeing Sofie (Hope Davis), who intrigues him by stating that even her own neuroses may be Ďall in her headí.

Why anyone would buy this stuff at all is a testament to Kasdanís skill with characterization and dialogue. You begin to wonder how these characters will turn out. Itís like listening to small town gossip: Good news is nice, but the dirt is the fun stuff. Even Doc Mumford has no problem sharing secrets between patients. Perhaps by displaying that we all have a few dirty secrets, itís a tie that binds us together, regardless of how personal they may be. Thereís also the little subplot that implies that maybe Doc Mumford isnít who he says he is at all.

Loren Dean plays it so laid-back, he almost disappears. But the approach works, because Mumford is about the collection of people, not the doctor. Itís a smart move as an actor, because heís in almost every scene. Jason Lee is funny as usual, and Alfre Woodard gives a sweet performance as Doc Mumfordís friend and neighbor. Hope Davis stands out and Martin Short steals a few scenes as an obnoxious lawyer.

A movie that has no real destination in mind, and takes its time getting there, but it does it well. For an ensemble piece such as this, solid character development will make or break the whole picture. Lawrence Kasdan obviously knows this and offers a pleasant diversion from your typical Friday night movie. He wraps it all up perhaps a bit too neatly, but so what, the movie may leave you in a good mood for quite a while. Thatís probably worth 7 bucks.

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originally posted: 09/30/99 15:59:42
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User Comments

11/19/10 Ron It was a Nice Movie; nothing more, nothing less, and that's OK. 4 stars
10/14/09 Lori Psychologists cannot prescribe medication. Psychiatrists can, they have medical degrees. 3 stars
4/11/09 Dane Youssef Mumford seems like a nice place to live and a decent person to kno, trust. 5 stars
7/31/07 R.W. Welch Low key comedy has a certain odd charm to it. B- 4 stars
7/10/07 David Cohen What pretentious crap! 1 stars
3/28/03 Atanu An extremely well made movie. Loren Dean is way too underrated. 5 stars
10/27/02 MarktheShark6 If Jason Lee wasn't in it, I'd never had watched it. Thanks Jason. 4 stars
8/29/02 K-ronik Thought it was going to be great, but it just slowed to a stop by the end. 2 stars
11/08/01 Hum eh,watchable but nothing special 3 stars
9/25/01 VerbalK Great little movie, nothing outstanding here, but a good video to rent . 4 stars
5/05/01 The Chosen One best comedy of the year 5 stars
9/26/00 Elvisfan did not connect w/any characters, storylines so the movie is an unpleasant waste of time 2 stars
8/29/00 Me Tarzan Sweet and calm and well acted. Cool b+w fantasy with the cheerleader, too - I want more! 5 stars
5/04/00 seldom scene excellent cast and dialog. why use a shrink?, just watch this! 4 stars
12/04/99 The King of the Bros Proving once again that therapy is for dumb people. 1 stars
10/19/99 Bueller Bigger Hollywood names in supporting roles, obviously drawn in by this well written story. 4 stars
10/18/99 Bjeck sweet, and funny. Jason Lee never let's me down 5 stars
10/05/99 PhilmPhreak Good romantice comedy - which is hard to find these days! 4 stars
10/04/99 The Bomb 69 little simplistic at the end but funny and worth seeing 4 stars
10/04/99 burfdano The best part: Mumford said, "Name some lame, low-life wanker" & Jason said, "Orgizmo." 5 stars
9/30/99 ladislau This is not "Kasdan"! Boring with big "B"! 2 stars
9/29/99 scutfargus When Hope Davis opens her mouth, she becomes quite interesting. Not enough explosions. 4 stars
9/29/99 Orgazmo One of the most boring, unfunniest hour and some odd minutes of my life 1 stars
9/28/99 Ami the Wonderbread Jason Lee was adorable. A good testimony on the power of listening 4 stars
9/28/99 Scott Fun 4 stars
9/26/99 The Lynchpyn one of the best ensemble pieces of the year, and very funny! 4 stars
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  24-Sep-1999 (R)


  16-Mar-1999 (M)

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