cast: Gene Hackman, Ray Romano
While it’s depressing this light comedy – the first theatrical vehicle for sitcom star/comedian Ray Romano – might be Gene Hackman’s last movie (he’s been retired ever since), it’s not that bad. Romano plays an everyman plumber in the small snowy town of Mooseport, Maine. He has a girlfriend that wants more of his time. Maura Tierney provides the essential talent to keep the ever-loving-Ray, whose Kermit the Frog voice and mundane charm fares much better on television, propped up on the big screen. As does Gene Hackman, perfect for the role of a newly retired President of the United States, seeming both important and a “man of the people.” Cut to the plotline: Romano and Hackman both decide to run for mayor. The president has the edge but it’s a Catch-22: the media stalks his fledgling campaign with nationwide coverage. The best scenes involve Hackman and Romano trying to beat each other for the position. One needs to be funnier, the other more professional. And it’s easier to root for Hackman – he’s got more to loose while Ray seems a bit too contented in his breezy life. Except his girlfriend’s possible romance with the Prez gets under his skin, allowing him a little space to perform. And although you’ll see the turnout for miles – that is, who each character winds up with romantically – the actual election results has a few surprising twists. Not terrible, not great – and a weak swan song for a cinematic legend.