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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.46%
Worth A Look32.31%
Average: 24.62%
Pretty Bad: 12.31%
Total Crap: 12.31%

6 reviews, 29 user ratings

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Mystery, Alaska
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by Chris Parry

"Why did this film cop so much shit? It's a fun time, dammit!"
3 stars

As much as it needs to be said WAY up front that Mystery Alaska is in no way something that could be termed as "art", it's safe to say that this Jay Roach sports-comedy is a lot closer to value for money than 80% of films that have hit screens this year. It's a sports movie, dammit, and you have to give those babies a bit of slack or we'd just end up shitcanning the entire genre. No, Mystery doesn't have the tension of Youngblood, the humour of Major League or the game-time atmos of the non Kelly Preston-afflicted portions of For Love Of The Game... but it also doesn't have the nausea of Major League 3, the cliche of Any Given Sunday... or James Van Der Beek.

I can't skate. I have no favourite ice hockey team. I can't even see the frickin' puck most of the time. An ice hockey movie? Oh lordy, there better be some nudity in this baby or I'm leaving after the "turn off your cellphone" ad.

Sadly, there's no nudity here. But there is a lot of pleasant fun, a bit of humour, the usual cast of backwoods quirky characters that pop up whenever the name "Alaska" is uttered... Isn't there any such thing as a non small-town, inbred, simple-but-happy Alaskan? If you took Hollywood as any sort of indicator you'd think that whenever you mutter the word "Alaska" an eskimo pops out from behind your screen and offers you a Humpback Whale BLT. It's like the Hollywood ideals that every black guy is in the hood, every Irish family dances a jig and downs a pint on the hour every hour and that Australians are beer-guzzling, sex-obsessed hicks who live in the desert...

Hey, we don't live in the desert, OKAY?!

So anyhow, movie decent. It's the story of an Alaskan (leave me alone, eskimo!) smalltown ice hockey team who for many years are happy playing themselves on Saturdays but are thrown into turmoil when a Sports Illustrated story sees them pitted against the New York Rangers in an exhibition match. It can pretty much be summed up in the concentrated script exert below:

Crusty old judge: "Oh no, how will this change our little town? We can't be a part of civilication!"
Town mayor: "He slept with my wife! He plays hockey good. Want another go?"
City slicker: "I'm from the city, so I'm shallow and stupid."
Sheriff: "I have a mullet haircut. Don't hate me."

You get the idea, lots of David E. Kelley inspired (I'm damn sure he doesn't write dick of what he gets his name to, so I won't say David E. Kelley written) cliche and stereotype. The usual sports movie formulas (everything builds up to a big game, we're supposed to root for the underdogs, one player must be over the hill, one must be a mad shagger, one must be big and stupid, blah blah) and when all is said and done you just know it comes down to one last shot. Is that a spoiler? If yes, you've clearly never seen a Hollywood sports movie before in your life. Go rent one, ya putz.

The end of Mystery Alaska does have a twist. Not a particularly life-chainging twist, but enough of a twist to grant it "kinda different" status alongside it's brethren. I'm not going to go into it, but I will say that I've heard it was dictated by the NHL.

It doesn't involve nudity. But there is a bra shown earlier.

A little hokey, very uninspired, but the total is definitely more than the sum of it's parts. Mystery Alaska is a no-brainer, but you just don't mind. It's just supposed to be fun. On that count, it delivers.

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originally posted: 04/01/00 00:37:19
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User Comments

5/01/09 DMac Just caught it on cable, very entertaining, I can't believe critics slammed it so hard! 4 stars
1/03/04 Zara I luv this movie! I think that the premise was great. I esp. luv'd Kevin "Tree" Durand. 4 stars
7/06/03 Jack Sommersby Appealingly acted, but the screenplay is woefully cliched and pandering-down-to. 2 stars
5/31/03 Karli Mason It was a great film i watched it 3 times in a row i liked it so much! 5 stars
2/26/02 Sheila Evans Almost worst part of my week, in which I also got stuck in an elevator while I had diarrhea 1 stars
2/26/02 Bertha Venation Some awkward moments aside, a very entertaining movie; Rusty on skates is great 5 stars
2/01/02 Andrew Carden Excellent Movie....Wonderful Performances. 5 stars
8/21/01 sylvie I though the movie was great mostly becaue of this graet actor (tree) Kevin Durand 5 stars
7/03/01 R. Perreault Excellent especially the big guy Tree/Kevin Durand 5 stars
6/23/01 Elvisfan Ditto Alan below, except the Girl Scouts could've beaten the lousy NY Rangers 5 stars
5/29/01 Alan Great hockey movie 5 stars
1/14/01 Invader This movie was quaint and likable, Crowe believable even as a yank. 4 stars
10/09/00 wrob Great Scott!'s review is right on 2 stars
6/12/00 Lisa I was prepared to dislike this movie; I'm not a sports fan. But I liked the humor and story 3 stars
6/08/00 Monday Morning Always wondered what The Mighty Ducks did when they grew up. 3 stars
5/12/00 The Bomb 69 not bad, tried to cover too many character problems but still good overall 4 stars
4/02/00 Loz I loved it. Ryan Northcott and Rachel Wilson deserve credit for their performance 5 stars
3/25/00 Karen crowe is an aussie hunk 4 stars
3/19/00 Joel Harwood It was very good better than mighty ducks 4 stars
11/20/99 Mark God sakes! (That's a quote, don't get offended) 5 stars
10/12/99 Bozo It wasn't that bad ...good cast, good small-town feel, great Russell 4 stars
10/11/99 Weird Andy Sucks less than its asinine premise would lead one to believe. 3 stars
10/11/99 Ben Ryan Great cast, semi good plot line, but just plain damn fun. Is it a movie or real game? 4 stars
10/05/99 PhilmPhreak I liked it. More character than hockey. 4 stars
10/05/99 McCloud Scruffy manly men, comedy, a little suspense: Well worth the moola! 5 stars
10/04/99 Oktober It's been a long time since a sports movie has come around where you wanted to cheer aloud! 5 stars
10/02/99 ladislau Too long! And Reynolds has nothing to do with this film! 3 stars
10/01/99 Nelle This film was damn good!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
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  01-Oct-1999 (R)



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