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March 01, 2004 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-01

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Monday
March 1, 2004
arts.michigandaily.com
artseditor@michigandaily.com

ARTS

5A

wa . .. env . . : . r.. . ... . ,. . ., ..

By John Hartman
For the Daily
MOVIE REVIEW
"Welcome to Mooseport" is like
your mom's casserole. It's some-
thing that is pretty good at the
time, but when it's over, you don't
really need any
more, and you
aren't really all Welcome
that filled up to
either. But hey, Mooseport
it took up some
time, right? At Madstone,
Like it or leave Showcase
it, "Mooseport" and Quality 16
is not a sharp, 20th Century Fox
stinging politi-
cal satire; instead, it's a broad
comedy that is likely to generate
several grins, but not likely to have
you going back for seconds.
The tale begins as a popular U.S.
president, Monroe "The Eagle"
Cole (Gene Hackman), returns to
his summer home in the fictional
town of Mooseport after his term
ends. He's looking for a nice place
to settle down after losing his
home to his wife (Christine Baran-
ski) in a divorce.
As the bitchy and proud-of-it
former First Lady, Baranski does
not get much of an opportunity to
show off her comedic talents; she's
merely a plot device here, and it's
a shame because she is a much
underused actress. Hackman, on
the other hand, gets plenty of
screen time, and he makes this pic-
ture so much more bearable. The
veteran actor can do this type of
role in his sleep, but it's still fun to
watch him bring life to a potential-
ly run-of-the-mill character.

Holy shitl Is that Harriet the spy? Courtesy of Dreamworks
Smells like Eurotrash

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Dammit Hackman, I though I had you with scissors this time.

By Justin Weiner
Daily Arts Writer
MOVI E REVI EW
A long time ago,
dies were funny, e

When the townspeople of
Mooseport persuade the former
president to run for mayor, he
agrees, all the time thinking of how
he can improve his approval ratings
and watch the book deals and
endorsements flow in. But when a
local nice-guy plumber, Harold
"Handy" Harrison (Ray Romano)
joins the race, the ex-prez realizes'
he's dealing with someone he has
never dealt with in real politics - a
genuinely honest man.
Thus, what was thought to be an
easy campaign becomes an all-out
war. This is Romano's first foray
into feature films, and frankly, as a
movie star, he's a very good televi-
sion actor. He certainly holds the
charm and gee-whiz demeanor that

propelled his TV show "Every-
body Loves Raymond" to high rat-
ings, but he seems uncomfortable
on-the big screen. His brand of
humor is very likable while being
completely harmless and innocu-
ous at the same time, but it might
be too safe for a feature film.
The rest of the actors in the film
try their hardest to work with basi-
cally one-note characters, and
most succeed. Oscar nominee
Marcia Gay Harden ("Mystic
River") gives a good performance
as a member of the president's
team, who may have more than
just platonic feelings for the big
guy. And Maura Tierney ("ER") is
winning as the woman caught
between the two candidates. Even

Fred Savage has some humorous
moments playing the nervous Nel-
lie he usually does.
As for the residents of Mooseport,
they fall into the category of "small-
town movie people who are too nice
and quaint to actually exist." They are
badly drawn caricatures of actual peo-
ple - people who have more than
one emotion. But this movie doesn't
really care about realism so much.
While "Mooseport" never gener-
ates any big belly laughs, it never
tries to. Instead, it is a very "nice"
movie, which will most likely elic-
it polite smiles from viewers. So if
you're looking for a side-splitting
laugh-fest, look elsewhere. But if
you just need a pleasant outing,
take a trip to Mooseport.

ing audiences
Unfortunately,
Hollywood has
failed to learn
that a movie can
be (gasp) too
shocking to be
funny. This is the
fate of "Eurotrip,"
a doubt the least

f

comedy ever made.
Understandably, f
Jeff Schafer did no
copy the formula f
by classics like "
"American Pie." It's
Schafer and the re,
tion team made a fi
like the aforement
minus the humor. M
possible to separat
"Road Trip" withou
long scene of fully n
down a beach.
"Eurotrip" has th
as other teen cc
Thomas (Scott Mec

land") has just graduated from high
school and, in a shocking plot twist
not seen since "American Pie", is
excited and nervous about going to
college. In yet another shocking plot
gross-out come- twist not seen since "Road Trip,"
ssentially shock- Scott and friends Cooper (Jacob
into laughter. Pitts, "K-19: The Widowmaker);
Jenny (Michelle Trachtenberg,
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and
Eurotrip Jamie (Travis Webster, MTV's
At Showcase and "Undressed") head to Europe for one
Quality 16 last high school adventure.
Dreamworks The main purpose of the trip is to
find Scott's gorgeous, German pen pal,
which is without but the gang has a few zany adventures
funny gross-out before Scott can find his dream girl. It
is here that "Eurotrip" diverges from
first-time director the formula of previous comedies.
t want to simply Funny moments are replaced by bad
or laughter used jokes, a tasteless reference to Hitler, a
Road Trip" and sickening sexual misadventure in one
just too bad that of Amsterdam's dominatrix clubs and
st of the produc- an overly affectionate Italian man.
lm that is exactly Luckily, "Eurotrip's" writers
ioned comedies, occasionally deviate from their plan
lemo to Jeff: It is and insert a funny scene or charac-
e this filth from ter into the movie. An absinth-
t inserting a very induced hallucination of a green
ude men running fairy is particularly amusing. These
moments, however, make up a tiny
e same basic plot fraction of the film's 90-minute run
omedies. Scott time. The rest of the movie is not
hlowicz, "Never- worth seeing.

'Straight Plan' can't outperform a gay one

By Nlamh Slevin
Daily Weekend Editor

TV REVIEW *
While the Fab Five of "Queer Eye for the Straight
Guy" are basking in their newfound television glory,
network programmers have been
scrambling to develop a series
with even half its popularity. For Straight
example, NBC expressed interest Plan for the
in picking up the show because Gay Man
many of its classic comedy gems Mondays at 10 p.m.
are nearing its finales this season
and its experimental endeavors Comedy Central
seem to fall into the flop catego-
ry. Although Comedy Central is certainly not hurting

in the ratings war, it too has jumped on the Fab Five
bandwagon in its usual offbeat fashion with its newest
attempt at comedy, "Straight Plan for the Gay Man."
"Queer Eye" has received its share of criticisms for
its stereotyped portrayals of gay men as overly effemi-
nate, interior designers with impeccable style, but
Comedy Central should be ashamed to produce some-
thing as bland and trite as "Straight Plan." They
exploit their favorite overused, trademark characters
with these four straight gurus. Rather than rushing to
an SUV, these men pile into a a monstrous, souped-up
black truck, which is equally impractical for a down-
town New York driver.
In the pilot, the quartet takes a gay fashion designer
and trains him to work in the manly field of meatpack-
ing. They guzzle beers, shop at the Salvation Army

and transform the man's chic apartment by draping
everything stationary in their particular shade of plaid.
"Straight Plan" seems more like an idea for a two-
minute sketch on "The Man Show" or "Saturday
Night Live".than a legitimate concept for an entire
series, even on Comedy Central.
Coming from the channel that brought this genera-
tion modern comedic greats such as "South Park" and
"The Daily Show," "Straight Plan for the Gay Man" is
nothing short of pitiful. Whereas the three major net-
works have already lost most of the viewers' confi-
dence with their repeated new series failures, Comedy
Central was one of the last basic cable beacons of
hope. With any luck, "Straight Plan" will prove to be
merely a temporary lapse in creative judgment.

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