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Overall Rating
3.34

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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Mumford
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by Ryan Arthur

"I *am* Panda Modem."
4 stars

Great cast, but if youíre looking for hidden message, it may not be for you. Few people will get this movie, and thatís really too bad.

The title of the film is ďMumford.Ē The lead actorís (Loren Dean) character is named Mumford. The town where said character sets up shop as a psychologist is also called Mumford. So youíd expect some deep, dark secret about how Mumford (the man) is the
great-great-great-something-or-other of the townís founder and heís come back to wreak havoc or take revenge or reclaim the family fortune, right?

Well, that may be true, but this is a Lawrence Kasdan movie. Itís not a movie of big events and earth shattering revelations. Itís an ensemble piece, and maybe Kasdan wanted
it to be this decadeís Big Chill; hell, maybe he wanted it to be this decadeís Grand Canyon (Am I the *only* person who liked that movie?). But Mumford doesnít even seem to have those aspirations.

It kind of meanders here and there among the residents of Mumford, although the film itself is a pretty lean 110+ minutes. We meet Mumford himself, a psychologist who does things a little differently, in that he doesnít ask his patients how they feel about their particular problems. Heís not very circular with his language. He has a tendency to take off on odd tangents that eventually get back to the patient, but more often as not, the patient will answer their own questions. Thatís part of the characterís charm: heís not the conventional psychologist - which leads some to question Mumfordís motives along with Mumford himself.

This being a Kasdan ensemble piece, thereís lots of folks that wander into frame. Thereís Lily (Alfre Woodard), who runs the local coffeeshop and rents an apartment to Mumford. Sheís kind of his sounding board. Among his patients are the local pharmacist Henry (Heavyís Pruitt Taylor Vince), whose fantasies all revolve around the old pulp magazines; Althea (Mary McDonnell), an obsessive shopper whose husband (Ted Danson) treats her like shit; Nessa (Zooey Deschanel), a teen obsessed with her weight; Skip (Chasing Amyís Jason Lee), the billionaire owner of Panda Modem (think Gates, only less of a geek) whoís so desperately lonely that heís reached the end of his rope as far as searching for that perfect companion; and Sofie (Hope Davis), a woman who is suffering from what appears to be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. All these characters interact with each other in
the typical ensemble fashion: some end up together (in likely or unlikely fashion), some discover that thereís more to their life than what theyíve lived. Itís Mumford himself, and his mysterious past, that are the source of what little conflict there is in the film.

There, I said it. What little conflict there is. Itís a quiet film, lots of talking. Itís like a Tarantino or Smith without the swearing and pop culture references. Thatís its strength.

The actors all slip quite comfortably into their roles. Dean is something of a blank slate as Mumford; I spent the better part of the film trying to figure out where Iíd seen him before. He had the familiar, comfortable look to him, but I couldnít place him. Thatís probably why he was cast. If youíre curious, I finally remembered seeing him was as Joe, the object of Lily Taylorís affections in Say Anything, ten years ago. Weird. Hope Davis makes the most of a kind of blah role. McDonnell surprised me in a role thatís just to the left of ordinary, and Vince was eeriely good. And Lee...dear God, Kasdan couldíve made a whole entire movie about Skip, and Lee plays the kooky billionaire with his usual gusto. Youíll wish he had made the whole film about Skip.

Mumford has no real payoff. There are no bombshells, no catastrophes that bring the nations of the world together. Itís just a small little film with characters that are all likeable, that youíd probably want to meet and sit down and chat with.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1859&reviewer=7
originally posted: 12/03/99 16:38:06
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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
5/21/08 PAUL SHORTT NOTHING FANTASTIC ABOUT THIS FANTASY FILM, NOT EVEN THE FANTASY 1 stars
7/31/07 R.W. Welch Low key comedy has a certain odd charm to it. B- 4 stars
7/10/07 DAVID AVELAR I WAS AN EXTEA IN THAT MOVIE IN SEBASTOPL 5 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
9/28/99 ROBERT SLEEPER!!! MUST SEE. EXCELLENT CAST. LOT'S OF LAUGHS. 4 stars
9/26/99 The Lynchpyn one of the best ensemble pieces of the year, and very funny! 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  24-Sep-1999 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  16-Mar-1999 (M)




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