Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Loren Dean, Hope Davis, Jason Lee, Mary McDonnell, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Alfre Woodard, Zooey Deschanel, Ted Danson, David Paymer, Martin Short, Jane Adams, Dana Ivey, Jason Ritter, Elizabeth Moss, Kevin Tighe
Written by: Lawrence Kasdan
Directed by: Lawrence Kasdan
MPAA Rating: R for sex-related images, language and drug content
Running Time: 112
Date: 09/11/1999
IMDB

Mumford (1999)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Shrink Tank

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Writer/director Lawrence Kasdan returns with another of his famed ensemble pieces (The Big Chill, Grand Canyon). But Mumford reminded me less of these Oscar contenders than of Kasdan's early screenplay for Continental Divide (1981), which featured one of John Belushi's best performances. It's a lightweight but fun romantic comedy.

In Mumford, Loren Dean (Gattaca, Enemy of the State) stars as Mumford, a shrink in the small town of Mumford. His patients, played by Jason Lee, Mary McDonnell, Pruitt Taylor Vince, and Zooey Deschanel, all have simplified problems that are easy to fix by the final reel. More complicated is Sofie Crisp (Hope Davis, from Next Stop Wonderland) who suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and with whom Mumford falls in love. Alfre Woodard, Jane Adams, David Paymer, Ted Danson, and Martin Short are also on board. I'm afraid that the best twist, which I will not ruin further by elaborating here, has been given away by the TV ads.

Mumford offers no real surprises. The movie is practically mapped out for us from the beginning. But the subject matter touches a chord; in a world populated by billions, most people are lonely. Mumford succeeds because it offers us some kindred companions and, for two hours, makes us feel not so alone.

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