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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 Chris Parry

"This is going somewhere good... I'm sure it is... oh, that's all there was?"
3 stars

Lawrence Kasdan's Mumford is an odd little affair. As a Northern Exposure-like TV series, I'm sure I would have been watching every week, but as a feature film I was left a little underwhelmed. Anyone familiar with Kasdan's work knows he loves to delve into relationships and people and ensemble pieces, and as far as directors goes, he's right up there on the list of those who'll never let you down. But when it comes to Mumford, there's an ingredient missing, something special that gives everything a point. I think it's called an ending worthy of the beginning.

Doc Mumford (Loren Dean) has just hit the town of Mumford to start up his psychology practice. He's an oddball to be sure, quiet and unemotional, but people seem to take great pleasure in baring their soul to him, and his unorthodox ways seem to get results. Over time we meet all manner of local townsfolk and peep into their problems in life, with Doc Mumford as our quiet guide.

But Mumford may not be all he seems, and as various people in the town begin to feel slighted by him, he starts to find himself more and more in hot water...

Only he doesn't. I mean, this character just doesn't seem like his expression would change whether you were beating him with a stick or slicing through his achilles tendon with a steak knife. The guy is obviously intended to be quirky, but as the main character of this affair, he doesn't exactly leave you rooting for him, or against him, or really giving a flying fuck about him one way or another.

Hope Davis, a patient that you know from the first minute he's going to end up falling in love with, despite the fact that she's presented in a less than attractive way, is just great in her role, as is Mary McDonnell, Jason Lee, Martin Short... pretty much everyone who isn't Loren Dean.

That's not to say Dean can't act, he does what is asked, but what is asked isn't exactly riveting cinema, it's more pleasant stroll through smalltown America as a litany of everyman people open up their problems, solve them, and make with the shagging of the people they're supposed to be shagging.

Shagging like nudity shagging? Well, yeah. Well, no. If you'd heard there's a fair amount of nudity in this thing and rent it expecting to see Mary McDonnell's ample frontage or Alfre Woodard's (shudder) anything, you're going to be returning the tape disappointed. There is indeed boobage, but it's fleeting, and it's the boobage of extras. Certainly not enough to be a factor in a fourteen-year-old boy's rental decisions, let alone anyone else's, though one scene involving a classroom of naked schoolchildren... well, let's just say I did a double-take and am still reconciling that one in my head.

Concluding - Mumford isn't a bad way to loll through an hour and a half, but it's not particulary satisfying affair. You'll laugh a few times, you'll groan a few times, you'll find one of those subconscious "Patch Adams" smiles creeping across your face once or twice (you know, the ones you're ashamed of when you realize you're having them), and chances are that you won't think it stunk. You won't think it was fantastic either, so I guess that makes Mumford the quintessential 'middle of the road' flick.

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originally posted: 08/29/02 05:29:22
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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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